Defense Medical Expert Says George Floyd’s Heart Condition, Drug Use Played ‘Significant’ Role In His Death


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David Fowler, a former Maryland medical examiner, said Wednesday that the condition of George Floyd’s heart, as well as his drug use, played a role in his death.

Fowler testified that Floyd’s heart disease caused a “sudden cardiac arrhythmia” while he was being restrained by former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin. He further testified that Floyd’s use of fentanyl and methamphetamine, as well as the exhaust he inhaled from the police vehicle while he was being restrained, also contributed to his death. (RELATED: Judge Declines To Sequester Jury In Chauvin Trial Following Shooting, Riots In Minneapolis)

The classification of Floyd’s death as a homicide, Fowler continued, means that his death was caused by intentional and harmful acts committed by another person, but does not imply that there was intent to kill.

“Intent to cause death is a common element but is not required for classification as a homicide,” Fowler said. “It is to be emphasized that the classification of homicide for the purposes of death certification is a neutral term and neither indicates nor implies criminal intent, which remains the determination within the province of a legal process.”

Fowler’s testimony comes after the prosecution argued that Floyd’s death was directly caused by Chauvin’s knee on his neck and that Chauvin’s use of force was both unnecessary and deadly. The defense has argued that Floyd died because of a drug overdose or because of his heart condition.

The prosecution rested their case Tuesday after calling 38 witnesses over 11 days.

Fowler has been described by some colleagues as “among the most respected forensic pathologists in America,” The Washington Post reported. The Maryland Attorney General’s Office recently asked the court to dismiss a lawsuit against Fowler filed over his findings in Anton Black’s police-involved death in 2018, according to the report.