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George Floyd: Former medical doctor Dr. David Fowler says Floyd died of heart disease – not Derek Chauvin



“I think Mr. Floyd had a sudden cardiac arrhythmia or cardiac arrhythmia due to atherosclerosis and hypertensive heart disease … during police restraint and obedience,” said Dr. David Fowler, a forensic pathologist who retired as a chief medical expert at Maryland at the end of 2019

Floyd had narrowed coronary arteries known as atherosclerosis and a dilated heart due to his high blood pressure or hypertension, Fowler said. Floyd’s use of Floyd and methamphetamine and a tumor known as paraganglioma are other important conditions that contributed to his death, he said.

Dr. Fowler also put forward a new argument that the team’s carbon monoxide may have contributed to his death.

But in cross-examination, he admitted that he had no data or test results to support the theory and that he had not been found to be injured by carbon monoxide. Asked how he knew the car was even on, Fowler said he noted water dripping from the tailpipe, which showed it was working.

Dr. David Fowler suggested that the team's carbon monoxide may have contributed to George Floyd's death.

Dr. Fowler says he ruled out asphyxia at Floyd’s death.

“Positional asphyxia, as used in court today, is an interesting hypothesis and is not supported by any experimental data,” he testified.

In general, Dr. Fowler said Floyd’s death should have been classified as “indeterminate” rather than murder because there were so many competing causes.

The testimony is limited by the prosecution’s argument, backed by five separate medical experts, that the main cause of Floyd’s death was low oxygen due to Chauvin’s retention of Floyd’s handcuffs in a supine position – known as “positional asphyxia”. To find a conviction, prosecutors must prove that Chauvin’s actions were a “significant causal factor” in Floyd’s death.
Dr. Fowler’s analysis took the testimony in its entirety on Wednesday. A day earlier, six witnesses testified about the defense, including a force expert who said Chauvin’s actions were justified. Several other testimonies focused on Floyd’s drug use, especially during his pre-trial detention in May 2019.
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Witnesses together supported the defense’s three main arguments: that Floyd had died of drugs and health problems, that the use of Chauvin’s force was ugly but appropriate, and that a hostile crowd of bystanders was distracting Chauvin.
The prosecution closed its case on Tuesday morning after calling 38 witnesses for 11 days. Prosecutors tried to prove that Chauvin used excessive and unreasonable force when he knelt on Floyd’s neck and back for nine minutes and 29 seconds last May. Their case relied on numerous videos of Chauvin’s actions, analysis by police experts and medical evidence of how Floyd died.

Chauvin, 45, pleaded not guilty to second-degree manslaughter, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. The defense case is expected to last only a few days, and final arguments are expected on Monday, Judge Peter Cahill said.

As the trial focused on Chauvin and Floyd, broader public interest became clear this week when a police officer shot and killed a black man in nearby Brooklyn center, sparking three nights of protests. The officer resigned and was arrested and charged with second-degree manslaughter, authorities said. The Floyd family expressed their condolences and support to the family of 20-year-old Daunte Wright.

“We are here and we will fight for justice for his family, just as we are fighting for our brother,” Philonis Floyd said on Tuesday.

The doctor says Floyd should have received medical attention

Dr. David Fowler testified during the April 14 trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin.

In cross-examination, attorney Jerry Blackwell sharply questioned Dr. Fowler, repeatedly interrupting the doctor’s attempts to offer longer answers.

Last week, Dr. Martin Tobin, a pulmonologist, testified before the indictment that Chauvin’s actions narrowed Floyd’s hypopharynx, the part of the throat through which air passes. Dr. Fowler said he looked at this testimony and went to look for more information, but did not find it. “It’s not something I’ve ever heard of,” he said.

He also admitted that he was not a pulmonologist and did not try to calculate how much air there was in Floyd’s lungs between breaths, a key part of Dr. Tobin’s analysis.

Dr. Fowler was unable to identify the point at which Floyd suffered a sudden cardiac arrest, and said he did not notice that Floyd’s voice became thicker and quieter over time. He also said he agreed that Floyd should have received immediate medical attention on the spot.

Derek Chauvin's defense uses these 3 arguments to try to acquit George Floyd's death.

The doctor’s analysis contradicts much of what prosecutors said last week.

Hennepin County medical expert Dr. Andrew Baker, who conducted Floyd’s autopsy, testified last week that police restraint was the leading cause of death, citing Floyd’s heart disease and fentanyl use as other important conditions.
He described the paraganglioma as an “accidental” tumor that had nothing to do with his death. None of the doctors mentioned carbon monoxide as a role.

Dr Jonathan Rich, a cardiologist who testified on Monday, testified that Floyd’s heart showed no evidence of injury.

“I can state with a high degree of medical certainty that George Floyd did not die of a primary cardiac event and did not die of a drug overdose,” Rich said.

Fowler is on trial for the “ominously similar” death of a Maryland teenager

Separately, Dr. Fowler is listed in a lawsuit by the family of a teenager from Maryland who died during a police meeting in 2018, which a family lawyer called “ominously similar” to Floyd’s death.

Anton Black died after an altercation with Greensboro, Maryland, police officers, during which he was detained while lying in bed for about six minutes, according to the lawsuit.

The issue is that Dr. Fowler and other members of the Medical Expert Office “covered up and concealed police responsibility for Anton Black’s death.” The case alleges that Fowler and others deliberately withheld toxicology results that contradicted police allegations of drug use and incorrectly attributed the cause of death to other causes.

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Black Fowler’s report, signed by Dr. Fowler, found no evidence “that the restraint by law enforcement directly caused or significantly contributed to the heir’s death” and suggested that “the manner of death is best certified as an accident ‘.

No charges have been filed against police officers involved in the incident.

Lawyer Kenneth Ravenel, who represents Black’s family in the trial, told CNN he was “discouraged” when he first learned that Dr. Fowler would testify in Chauvin’s trial.

“We were initially surprised that Dr. Fowler would testify, especially since he is a defendant in a case that is ominously similar,” Ravenel said. “He’s a hired gun.”

The case was not mentioned by the lawyers for any of the parties in the Chauvin trial.

Dr. Fowler’s lawyers had no comment, citing ongoing litigation. Earlier this month, a request was made to dismiss the case on the grounds that Dr. Fowler and the other defendants had “qualified immunity,” and in particular that since Dr. Fowler had retired from the medical expert’s office, he “has no power to effect the changes” sought by the plaintiffs.

CNN contacted Greensboro police.

CNN’s Omar Jimenez, Karma Hassan, Cherry Mosburg, Brad Parks and Melissa Alonso contributed to the report.


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