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Derek Chauvin Trial, April 14 Live Updates: Under Cross Examination, Defense’s Medical Expert Agrees Floyd Needed ‘Immediate Emergency Attention’ For Cardiac Arrest – WCCO


UPDATE (3:45 p.m.): After the first round of cross examination, defense attorney Eric Nelson returned to the lectern to question Dr. David Fowler.

He asked if Fowler could say with any specificity what was seen in George Floyd’s mouth during surveillance footage taken inside of Cup Foods. Fowler said he could not.

Nelson then turned to questioning about Chauvin’s restraint of Floyd.

“Based upon your review of the video in this case, did you observe Mr. Chauvin’s knee obstructing the carotid artery of Mr. Floyd?” he asked.

“The knee did not obstruct either carotid artery,” Fowler said, continuing on that, even if one of the carotids had been blocked, there would have been other pathways for oxygen to reach Floyd’s brain.

Nelson also asked about the moment the state highlighted where Chauvin had his arm around Floyd’s neck while trying to keep him in the squad car.

“I recall it being fairly brief, a brief period that the arm was around the neck,” Fowler testified.

“Did it appear to you that Mr. Chauvin had a tight, firm grip around Mr. Floyd’s neck?” Nelson said.

“No, it actually looked very loose,” Fowler said.

Blackwell questioned Fowler one more time before court ended for the day.

“In squad 320, you didn’t see any footage of Mr. Floyd spitting a pill out, did you?” he asked.

“No, I did not,” Fowler said.

Blackwell tried in two different ways to ask Fowler if Chauvin’s actions on May 25, 2020 contributed to Floyd’s death. Nelson objected each time and those objections were sustained.

Court is in recess until Thursday morning.

UPDATE (3 p.m.): During cross examination, prosecutor Jerry Blackwell took aim at Dr. David Fowler’s assertions about the cause of George Floyd’s death.

Fowler had earlier testified that Floyd’s cause of death was cardiac arrhythmia due to hypertensive heart disease, and that Floyd’s ingestion of drugs, his paraganglioma tumor and exhaust from the nearby squad car all contributed to his death.

“Do you agree with me that there was no finding of carbon monoxide poisoning from Mr. Baker’s autopsy review?” Blackwell asked.

“I do,” Fowler said.

Blackwell also asked Fowler if the levels of methamphetamine found in Floyd were within the range of a prescribed “therapeutic dose,” which he confirmed. Fowler also testified that Floyd was not exhibiting outward symptoms consistent with a fatal fentanyl overdose.

“You’re not telling the jury that Mr. Floyd died from paraganglioma, are you?” Blackwell asked at one point. Fowler said no.

When asked about the cardiac arrhythmia, Fowler said, “Every one of us in this room will have a fatal arrhythmia at some point.”

“Because that’s kind of how you go, right?” Blackwell said. Fowler confirmed.

Blackwell questioned Fowler’s assertion that Floyd’s death was “more sudden than prolonged.”

“Are you able to generally characterize where the sudden death took place?” Blackwell asked.

“There’s a difference between death and cardiac arrest,” Fowler said, later adding that “Immediate medical attention for a person who’s gone into cardiac arrest may reverse that process.”

“Do you feel that Mr. Floyd should have been given immediate emergency attention to try to reverse the cardiac arrest?” Blackwell said.

“As a physician I would agree,” Fowler said.

UPDATE (12:34 p.m.): Dr. David Fowler, the former chief medical examiner for Maryland and the only medical witness called by the defense in the Derek Chauvin trial, testified that he would have categorized George Floyd’s manner of death as undetermined. This categorization means that he believes the evidence for one manner of death in the case is no more compelling than the evidence for another.

Earlier in his testimony Wednesday morning, the doctor said that Floyd’s cause of death was cardiac arrhythmia due to hypertensive heart disease. He said that Floyd’s ingestion of fentanyl and methamphetamine, his paraganglioma tumor and the exhaust from the squad car near where he was restrained were “significant contributory conditions” in his death.

Fowler’s testimony directly countered that of several medical experts brought by prosecutors, all of whom testified that Floyd died due to lack of oxygen while pinned under Chauvin’s knee. According to Fowler, Floyd’s hypertension, enlarged heart, drug use, tumor and the exertion from struggling with police combined to trigger a sudden cardiac death.

Before the court took a break for lunch, Judge Peter Cahill told the prosecution that he’d allow them the overnight hours to prepare a plan to call rebuttal witnesses, as Fowler had viewed at least some of the testimony from the state’s experts. The judge said the defense could rest their case as soon as Wednesday afternoon.

UPDATE (10:54 a.m.): Dr. David Fowler, a medical expert for the defense in the Derek Chauvin trial, testified that George Floyd died of a cardiac arrhythmia due to his heart disease while he was being arrested on May 25.

Fowler, who is the former medical examiner of Maryland, said that “significant contributing conditions” to Floyd’s death were his fentanyl and methamphetamine use, his paraganglioma tumor, and vehicle exhaust from the squad car he was restrained near.

During his testimony Wednesday morning, Fowler noted that methamphetamine use is linked to the narrowing of blood vessels, increased risk of arrhythmia, and increased heart rate. He said that Floyd’s “entire heart,” which was enlarged, was disposed to a reduced blood supply as a result of narrow arteries.

Fowler has not mentioned how Chauvin’s kneeling on Floyd’s neck might have contributed to Floyd’s death. Fowler’s testimony is expected to continue after the morning break. He has yet to be cross examined by prosecutors.

UPDATE (9:50 a.m.): The second day of defense testimony started with Dr. David Fowler, the former chief medical examiner of Maryland. His testimony began with his qualifications and work history, as well as an explanation of the medical examiner’s role.

According to media reports, Fowler is the subject of a lawsuit that accuses him of helping to cover up Maryland police’s role in the 2018 death of a 19-year-old Black man.

UPDATE (9:10 a.m.): Morries Hall, who was with George Floyd in a vehicle outside of Cup Foods before he was arrested on May 25, tells the court that he will invoke his 5th Amendment right against self incrimination. He told the judge that he is not willing to answer questions on the stand because he is “fearful of criminal charges going forward.”

His public defender, Adrienne Cousins, told the court that Hall could not answer questions from the defense that put him in the car with Floyd, explaining that doing so would expose him to potential third-degree murder charges.

Hall’s testimony has been the focus of several motions throughout the trial. Last week, Judge Peter Cahill asked the defense to draft possible questions for Hall that would narrowly focus on what Floyd was like inside the car, perhaps avoiding self-incriminating testimony.

The Minnesota Attorney General’s Office could grant immunity to Hall, but it has not done so. No explanation as to why has been given.

UPDATE (9 a.m.): Judge Peter Cahill denies the defense’s motion for acquittal.

Eric Nelson, Derek Chauvin’s attorney, motioned for acquittal Wednesday morning, arguing that the state failed to prove that the former Minneapolis police officer killed George Floyd.

Such an acquittal motion is common after the prosecution finishes its case.

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The defense in the Derek Chauvin trial is expected to call medical experts on Wednesday as it attempts to sow doubt on whether the former Minneapolis police officer’s actions killed George Floyd, rather than underlying health conditions or drug use. It remains unknown if Chauvin will take the stand in his own defense.

Court is expected to resume at 8:45 a.m. with a motions hearing. Per the court’s schedule, testimony will start around 9:30 a.m. The defense is expected to call a medical expert to testify on Floyd’s cause of death and toxicology results, as earlier testimony showed that Floyd had methamphetamine and fentanyl in his system.

WCCO-TV will stream gavel-to-gavel coverage of the trial on CBSN Minnesota. Jason DeRusha will lead coverage and longtime Twin Cities criminal defense attorney Joe Tamburino, who is not affiliated with the case, will provide legal analysis.

RELATED: Watch Gavel-To-Gavel Coverage Of The Derek Chauvin Trial

The defense began making its case to the jury Tuesday morning after the state rested following 11 days of testimony from medical experts, police officers and witnesses who begged Chauvin on May 25 to stop kneeling on Floyd’s neck. Chauvin is facing charges of second-degree murder, third-degree murder and manslaughter. Three other former officers are also charged with aiding and abetting Chauvin; their trial is set for August.

On Tuesday, the defense called six witnesses, including Shawanda Hill, who was with Floyd in a vehicle outside Cup Foods when officers approached him. Hill testified that Floyd was talkative and jovial inside the south Minneapolis convenience store, but when they were in the car, Hill said he began nodding off. She testified that that she had to wake him when the Cup Foods workers came to talk to him about using a fake $20 bill and when officers arrived at 38th and Chicago.

Also on the stand Tuesday was a use-of-force expert, Barry Brodd, who said that Chauvin’s actions during the arrest where justified. Brodd’s testimony countered not only the prosecution’s experts, but the half-dozen Minneapolis police officers — including Chief Medaria Arradondo — who testified that Chauvin’s use of force was deadly and against department policy.

RELATED: Defense’s Expert Witness Says Use Of Force Against George Floyd ‘Justified

On cross examination, prosecutor Steve Schleicher used body-worn camera video in an attempt to shake Brodd. He asked the retired police officer from California how Floyd was being “non-compliant” when he was lying prone, in handcuffs with three officers on top of him. “A compliant person would have their hands in the small of their back and just be resting comfortably, versus like he’s still moving around,” Brodd said.

“Did you say ‘resting comfortably’?” Schleicher responded.

“Or laying comfortably,” Brodd said.

“Resting comfortably, on the pavement,” Schleicher said.

RELATED: Philonise Floyd Sheds Tears For His Brother George While On The Stand In Chauvin Trial

The defense also showed video of a May 2019 arrest where Floyd allegedly ingested an opiate as officers approached the car. A short clip of the body-worn camera footage was allowed to be shown in court as Floyd’s behavior was deemed similar to the arrest outside of Cup Foods nearly a year later, where he also ingested pills during the arrest.

Michelle Moseng, the former Hennepin County paramedic who assessed Floyd after the 2019 arrest, testified that Floyd told her that he was addicted to opioids, and had been consuming “seven to nine [Percocet] pills every 20 minutes or so.” Moseng also said Floyd’s blood pressure was dangerously high, and he was sent to the hospital for observation.

Another point of focus for the defense was the crowd of bystanders who watched Floyd’s arrest and could be heard on video yelling at the officers. Minneapolis Park Police officer Peter Chang testified that the crowd was “loud and aggressive,” distracting him from his duties as he provided backup to the arresting officers.

The trial is happening as tensions remain high in the Twin Cities over the fatal police shooting of Daunte Wright on Sunday in Brooklyn Center, a suburb just north of Minneapolis. More than 60 people were arrested overnight as protesters and police clashed outside the city’s police department for a third night in a row.

The officer who shot Wright, Kim Potter, resigned from the force on Tuesday. Charges could be filed against her on Wednesday.



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