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Chauvin trial: defense claims bad heart and drug use killed Floyd

A leading forensic pathologist has told the Derek Chauvin trial that George Floyd was killed by his heart condition and drug use.

Dr David Fowler, testifying for the defence, also introduced the idea that vehicle exhaust may have played a part in Floyd’s death by raising the amount of carbon monoxide in his blood and affecting his heart.

Fowler, Maryland’s former chief medical examiner who trained in South Africa during the apartheid era, said the combination of cardiac disease, methamphetamine use and carbon monoxide killed the 46-year-old Black man while Chauvin, who is white, was arresting him last May in Minneapolis.

“All of those combined to cause Mr Floyd’s death,” he said.

Fowler is a controversial witness. He is being sued by the family of a Black teenager, Anton Black, killed by the Maryland police in 2018 after being held face down by three police officers.

Fowler certified that Anton Black died from natural causes, with his bipolar disorder a contributing factor.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has accused Fowler of “creating false narratives about what kills Black people in police encounters”.

Last week, medical experts testified for the prosecution that Floyd died because the way that Chauvin and the other police officers pinned him to the ground in the prone position caused brain damage and heart failure.




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