Two members of the Hennepin County Board of Commissioners voted Tuesday in favor of removing the county’s medical examiner because they didn’t like the results of his autopsy in the case of George Floyd.
Chief Medical Examiner Andrew Baker released a 20-page autopsy report last week with the permission of Floyd’s family and concluded that Floyd’s heart stopped while being restrained by officers. The report revealed that Floyd tested positive for the coronavirus, had fentanyl and meth in his blood, and had a number of underlying health conditions.
Attorneys for the Floyd family commissioned an independent autopsy, which found that Floyd died of asphyxiation because of neck and back compression.
Hennepin County Commissioners Angela Conley and Irene Fernando believe Baker’s autopsy caused “irreparable damage to the Black community.” Both voted against his reappointment during a Tuesday meeting in a 5-2 vote, meaning his reappointment was approved.
“Since George Floyd’s murder on Memorial Day this year, our community waited for the results from Dr. Baker’s office to confirm what hundreds of thousands of us witnessed with our very own eyes as we watched the camera footage of this brutal murder. Dr. Baker’s autopsy report indicated that ‘pre-existing conditions’ and ‘potential’ intoxicants ultimately led to George Floyd’s death. I want to be very clear: potential does not equate to certainty,” Conley said in a statement released Tuesday night.
She said Baker’s autopsy was the “catalyst for insufficient charges brought by the County Attorney’s Office.” Ex-officer Derek Chauvin was initially charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter, while a second-degree murder charge was later added after Attorney General Keith Ellison took over the case.
“Dr. Baker’s report has done irreparable damage to the Black community who has every valid reason not to trust these processes that have consistently stolen justice from us. The subsequent independent autopsy completed by lead medical examiners confirmed what we saw with our own eyes; death by asphyxiation,” Conley continued.
“This is yet another reason people who look like me do not trust the justice system to bring justice to us. We are too often criminalized by the way we look while living and even in death,” she added. “Dr. Baker’s reputation within our respective communities, nationally and globally has been damaged resulting in continued distrust from Black, Indigenous and other communities of color.”
Statement from my office regarding the reappointment of the Hennepin County Medical Examiner. pic.twitter.com/owolEV2PcL
— Angela Conley (@D4Commish) June 9, 2020
Conley and Fernando were among the first state leaders to call for the “immediate arrest” of all four officers involved in the alleged murder of Floyd. Both represent portions of Minneapolis on the Board of Commissioners.
– – –
Anthony Gockowski is managing editor of The Minnesota Sun and The Ohio Star. Follow Anthony on Twitter. Email tips to [email protected].
Photo “Irene Fernando” by Irene Fernando. Photo “Angela Conley” by Angela Conley.