Court filings: Medical examiner thought George Floyd had 'fatal level' of fentanyl in system
MINNEAPOLIS (FOX 9) - New exhibits filed in the case against the four former Minneapolis Police Officers accused of murdering George Floyd suggest the Hennepin County Medical Examiner thought George Floyd’s fentanyl levels were at a potentially “fatal level”, but his and other medical examiner’s findings showed he died of a combination of factors.
Six pieces of evidence were filed in the case Tuesday one day after former officer Tou Thao’s attorneys requested the release of the full autopsy reports from the Hennepin County Medical Examiner, the Armed Forces Medical Examiner and the private medical examiners hired by George Floyd’s family.
The Armed Forces Medical Examiner filed a memorandum agreeing with the Hennepin County Medical Examiner’s final conclusion that Floyd's death was a homicide, saying, “His death was caused by the police subdual and restraint in the setting of severe hypertensive atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease, and methamphetamine and fentanyl intoxication.”
However, two other memos filed Tuesday from the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office about conversations with Chief Hennepin County Medical Examiner Dr. Andrew Baker paint a different picture about the nature of Floyd’s death.
In one memorandum filed May 26 after a virtual meeting with Baker, the Attorney’s Office said Baker concluded, “The autopsy revealed no physical evidence suggesting that Mr. Floyd died of asphyxiation.” Baker told the attorney his investigation was incomplete pending a toxicology report, however.
The other memorandum filed June 1 by the Attorney’s Office indicated Baker said Floyd’s level of fentanyl was “pretty high,” and a potentially “fatal level.”
"[Dr. Andrew Baker] said that if Mr. Floyd had been found dead in his home (or anywhere else) and there were no other contributing factors he would conclude that it was an overdose death,” the June 1 memo said.
Among the new documents Tuesday was a memorandum outlining the findings from the independent medical examiners hired by the Floyd family, who list Floyd’s cause of death as “traumatic asphyxia due to the compression of his neck and back during restraint by police,” as was evident on bystander videos of the incident.
The memo admits the findings could be incomplete because they were awaiting microscopic slides, pictures and other evidence from the Hennepin County Medical Examiner’s report.