- An autopsy on George Floyd conducted by the Hennepin County Medical Examiner’s Office says Floyd tested positive for the novel coronavirus postmortem after first testing positive on April 3. It did not cite COVID-19 as a factor in his death.
- According to KSTP, the medical examiner’s office and Floyd’s family agreed to release his full autopsy on Wednesday.
- The autopsy concluded that Floyd died as a result of “cardiopulmonary arrest complicating law enforcement subdual, restraint, and neck compression.”
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George Floyd, a 46-year-old black man who was killed following an arrest in which a white police officer knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes, tested positive for the novel coronavirus in early April, an autopsy conducted by the Hennepin County Medical Examiner’s Office says.
According to KSTP, the medical examiner’s office and Floyd’s family agreed to release his full autopsy on Wednesday.
The autopsy says a nasal swab conducted on Floyd postmortem found that he tested positive for the virus but had no symptoms of COVID-19.
Andrew Baker, the chief medical examiner, commented in the autopsy that Floyd had tested positive for the virus on April 3 and that a positive result postmortem “likely reflects asymptomatic but persistent” positivity from the earlier infection. The autopsy did not cite COVID-19 as a factor in his death.
His autopsy concluded that Floyd, who died in police custody on May 25, “became unresponsive while being restrained by law enforcement officers” and said he died as a result of “cardiopulmonary arrest complicating law enforcement subdual, restraint, and neck compression.”
A grim disparity
The finding underlines a grim disparity of American life. Black Americans are nearly twice as likely as the population in general to become affected seriously by COVID 19.
Though Floyd was believed to have been asymptomatic, a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study of hospitalized US COVID-19 patients in March found that 33% of patients for whom racial data was known were African American, even though they accounted for just 18% of the population being examined.
And in US counties where at least 13% of people are black, African Americans are more than half of all coronavirus deaths, researchers at amfAR found. (Twenty-two percent of all US counties are at least 13% African American.)
2 autopsies, 2 different conclusions
There have been two autopsies so far in the investigation of Floyd’s death, and they have come to slightly different conclusions:
- The first was done by the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office which said that Floyd was killed by “cardiopulmonary arrest complicating law enforcement subdual, restraint, and neck compression.” In a criminal complaint, prosecutors said Floyd was killed by “the combined effects of Mr. Floyd being restrained by the police, his underlying health conditions and any potential intoxicants in his system likely contributed to his death.” The complaint also said there were “no physical findings that support a diagnosis of traumatic asphyxia or strangulation.”
- A second, independent autopsy commissioned by Floyd’s family found that “the evidence is consistent with mechanical asphyxia as the cause of death and homicide as the manner of death.”
COVID played no role in Floyd’s death
Neither report indicated that coronavirus played a role.
The autopsy also noted that he had several blunt force trauma injuries to his face, forehead, and upper lip and that Floyd had underlying health conditions, including hypertensive heart disease.
Floyd’s family said earlier this week that an independent autopsy found that Floyd was killed by asphyxia due to compression of the head and neck. According to the Star Tribune, the main difference between the medical examiner’s findings and the independent autopsy is whether Floyd died from asphyxia.
The autopsy’s publication comes hours after news that three former officers involved in Floyd’s arrest have been charged with aiding in his murder. Derek Chauvin, the officer that knelt on Floyd’s neck, was previously arrested and charged with third-degree murder and now faces enhanced charges of second-degree murder.
Floyd’s killing has prompted widespread protests across the US.