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Breathing expert says George Floyd died from Derek Chauvin’s knee on his neck


Dr Martin Tobin testifies in the trial of former Minneapolis police Officer Derek Chauvin at the Hennepin County Courthouse (Picture: AP)

A breathing expert said that George Floyd died from a lack of oxygen as former Minneapolis police Officer Derek Chauvin knelt on his neck.

Dr Martin Tobin, a pulmonologist and critical care physician, told jurors on Thursday that ‘Mr Floyd died from a low level of oxygen, and this caused damage to his brain that we see, and it also caused a PEA arrhythmia because his heart stopped’. PEA stands for pulseless electrical activity, in other words, cardiac arrest.

Tobin said that Chauvin’s knee on Floyd’s neck and the black man’s prone position in handcuffs contributed to his ‘shallow breathing’ that caused him to have a low level of oxygen.

The pulmonologist from the Chicago area added that Chauvin and fellow officer J Alexander Keung pushed Floyd’s handcuffs ‘into his back’ and pushed them high, inhibiting his breathing.

It was as if the left side of Floyd’s chest was ‘being pushed in from the street at the bottom and the way the handcuffs are manipulated… totally interfere with central features of how we breathe’, Tobin said.

Tobin continued that Floyd used his left shoulder to try to create space around his chest in order to breathe, but that ‘the shoulder is a very ineffective way of breathing’.

‘Basically, on the left side of his chest, it’s as if a surgeon almost went in and removed the lung… and left him totally reliant on his right side’, Tobin said.

Tobin’s testimony on the ninth day of Chauvin’s murder trial was the first to indicate that Floyd died from the former cop’s knee on his neck, back and side.

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