New court filings of the Hennepin County Autopsy Examiner Dr. Andrew Baker show that George Floyd likely died of an overdose rather than strangulation.
On Monday, ex-officer Tou Thao’s counsel requested the complete medical witness opinions from both the Hennepin County Medical Examiner’s Office and the Floyd family’s individual autopsy doctors, Dr. Michael Baden and Dr. Allecia Wilson.
In the witness contact form dated June 1, Baker confirmed that the original autopsy was performed the morning after Floyd’s death. The doctor stated that he didn’t watch any of the arrest videos before the autopsy.
Baker summarized some of his findings from the original 20-page report. He also referenced the toxicology report completed after the autopsy. Together, the reports indicate it was likely an overdose that caused Floyd’s death. Not strangulation.
The doctor noted that Floyd’s enlarged, hypertension-plagued heart alone would put anyone at risk for death because of a greater need for oxygen – which “certain intoxicants can exacerbate.”
Those intoxicants were likely fentanyl. Floyd had “fatal levels” of the drug in his system.
“Fentanyl at 11 ng/mL – this is higher than [a] chronic pain patient,” read the witness statement. “If he were found dead at home alone and [with] no other apparent causes, this could be acceptable to call an OD (overdose). Deaths have been certified with levels of 3.”
The doctor then stated that the toxicology report “more accurately reflects [the] actual cause of death.” He also stated that meth, which was also in Floyd’s system, was bad for the heart.
The results of Baker’s autopsy report were met with controversy in the community. Two Hennepin County Commissioners voted to not reinstate him in his position over the matter.
The Floyd family’s independent autopsy report was shared on the same day that Baker’s witness report was compiled. Unlike Baker, the independent examiners relied on the arrest videos as evidence in their report. They stated that Floyd died of asphyxiation under ex-officer Derek Chauvin’s knee.
Both doctors admitted that the results of their findings omitted toxicology reports, tissue samples, and some organs. The latest document filing outlining their findings does not offer any further explanation for their conclusions.
The officers’ tentative hearing is scheduled for September 11.
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