Tuesday, August 25, 2020

UPDATED: George Floyd Died Of A Drug Overdose

Most of us have known that since, well, since the death occurred. It's now pretty much official, now that previously undisclosed documents have been made available. Via Big League Politics (go there to see the image of the original):

Previously unseen documents released by the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office on Tuesday reveal that a medical examiner who analyzed samples of George Floyd’s blood taken shortly after his death concluded that he died of a drug overdose. 
A summary of a conversation between Amy Sweasy, a Hennepin County Attorney, and Dr. Andrew Baker, the chief medical examiner for the county, reveals that the former would conclude George Floyd died of a drug overdose if there were no other contributing factors. 
The medical examiner makes the conclusion of an overdose death on the basis of blood samples collected from George Floyd at a Minneapolis hospital. 
Dr. Baker reveals that Floyd’s blood tested positive for the presence of 4ANPP, methamphetamine, fentanyl, and norfentayl. He described the level of fentanyl found in George Floyd’s bloodstream as a “fatal level under normal circumstances.” 
This revelation could potentially have significant implications for the upcoming second-degree murder trial of Derek Chauvin, and the criminal proceedings of the other Minneapolis Police Officers facing charges for their role in the infamous arrest of Floyd. 
Bodycam footage of Floyd’s arrest show the 46-year old man acting in a seemingly delirious and excited manner, resisting arrest before being pinned to the street by Derek Chauvin.

I believe it's quite possible Floyd thought he was using heroin, but he had been given cheaper but far more powerful fentanyl. Whatever.

BTW, within the past week I read an article about Covid that explained that we--meaning, medical personnel--now have a far better understanding of how to treat Covid. Among other things mentioned in the article was that we now understand that Covid patients having trouble breathing should be placed on their stomachs, as that position allows them more easily to use their lungs to the full extent possible.

With that in mind, recall what Derek Chauvin said to the young cop who said he was worried that Floyd was undergoing excited delerium. Chauvin responded: That's why we have him on his stomach. Oh! Seems Chauvin knew exactly what he was doing in restraining Floyd on his stomach when Floyd claimed to have trouble breathing.

UPDATE: It's beginning to appear increasingly clear that the Hennepin County Medical Examiner succumbed to political pressure:

Hennepin County Medical Examiner Initially Said George Floyd Had Fatal Level of Fentanyl in His System:

A May 26 memorandum filed after a meeting with the Attorney’s Office reveals that Chief Hennepin County Medical Examiner Dr. Andrew Baker stated that “the autopsy revealed no physical evidence suggesting that Mr. Floyd died of asphyxiation.”
“[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.

The lack of physical evidence suggesting asphyxiation--that lack being described in detail in the memo--is a direct statement that asphyxiation was not a contributing factor to Floyd's death.

Regardless, the Hennepin County Medical Examiner ultimately concluded on June 1 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.”

Minneapolis officer's attorney alleges George Floyd overdosed on fentanyl, says charges should be dropped:

Thomas Lane is charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder and aiding and abetting second-degree manslaughter in connection with Floyd’s Memorial Day death. In July, his attorney, Earl Gray, filed a motion to dismiss the charges against Lane, arguing there is not enough evidence to establish probable cause that the former rookie officer committed a crime.  
“All he had to do is sit in the police car, like every other defendant who is initially arrested. While attempting to avoid his arrest, all by himself, Mr. Floyd overdosed on Fentanyl,” the court documents read. "Given his intoxication level, breathing would have been difficult at best. Mr. Floyd’s intentional failure to obey commands, coupled with his overdosing, contributed to his own death."  
The Hennepin County Medical Examiner’s autopsy report says toxicology testing found fentanyl and evidence of recent methamphetamine use in Floyd’s system. But the report ultimately ruled the death of George Floyd a homicide. The updated version of the medical examiner's report states that on May 25, George Floyd experienced a "cardiopulmonary arrest while being restrained by law enforcement officers."

The initial finding was death from overdose--specifically noting the lack of any medical evidence of asphyxiation. But then there was an "ultimate" finding.


  1. I don't think, given this latest revelation, that any verdict of murder or manslaughter can be maintained in a just system. However, the court system is increasingly unjust.

    Can the police officers' attorneys find at least one honorable juror?

    1. It may be more the need for an honorable and courageous judge, who will dismiss the charges before any trial--no evidence of a violation of the statutes that the officers were charged under.

    2. Yeah, no such judge can be found.

  2. The article contains a misstatement. The Hennepin County Medical Examiner did not conclude that Floyd died from an overdose. The article cited a memo that summarizes a conversation that 2 assistant prosecutors had with the HCME. The memo was one of six exhibits filed yesterday in Officer Thao's case. It's not clear what the exhibits were for but in any event the memo reflects 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" (emphasis mine). An "other contributing factor" could include Chauvin's knee on Floyd's neck for 8 - 9 minutes.

    Other exhibits filed yesterday include an autopsy report from the Armed Forces Medical Examiner. The report was requested by USDOJ. The report agreed with the HCME's conclusion that Floyd was a homicide victim. The AFME's report concluded that Floyd's death was a homicide caused by "cardiopulmonary arrest complicating law enforcement subdual, restraint, and neck compression."

    There's an omnibus hearing set for Sept. 11. Officer Thao has asked the court to continue the issue of the cause of death. He also asked the court to order the prosecutor to produce: (1) HCME's entire file; (2) Dr. Michael Baden's autopsy report & records; (3) Dr. Allecia Wilson's autopsy report & records; & (4) AMFE's entire file. Baden & Wilson performed "independent" autopsies for Floyd's family's lawyers.

    You can access Officer Thao's case file here:

    You can also access the other officers' case files from the same link.

    Bottom line: we still have a ways to go until the facts are fully known.

    1. Andrew Baker:

      The autopsy revealed no physical evidence suggesting that Mr. Floyd died of asphyxiation. Mr. Floyd did not exhibit signs of petechiae, damage to his airways or thyroid, brain bleeding, bone
      injuries, or internal bruising.


      AB opined that he does not have full context for Mr. Floyd’s death without reviewing more of
      the evidence. He specically avoided watching any videos associated with the case to avoid
      bias during the autopsy.

    2. For what it’s worth, petechia is not always present in asphyxiation deaths and the presence or absence of petechia should only be valued as just a piece of how a person died.

    3. FWIW? That's not worth much--if anything--when this is a direct quote from the guy who did the autopsy: “the autopsy revealed no physical evidence suggesting that Mr. Floyd died of asphyxiation.”

    4. As I recall, the only medical examiner who actually autopsied Floyd’s body was the Hennepin County ME. Baden and his surrogate reviewed the original autopsy report, tacked on the contributing factor (restraint by LE), and the Hennepin County ME amended his original report-- which had drawn no such conclusion— to include Baden’s “finding". It sounds as though the AMFE piggybacked after Baden caused that change.

    5. We have seen the Minneapolis police department’s training manual in which the same restrain Chauvin used is illustrated. The photo showed it from a different angle than the video. It showed the restraining officer’s full body. He was squatting, not kneeling. That is important. His knee was thus extended out above the person’s neck, not pressing on his neck.

  3. The essential salience of George Floyd's death is that it represents another nail in the coffin of our civil society and the checks-and-balances institutions that formerly ensured stability and predictability. In the aftermath of Floyd's arrest and tragic death, a non-trivial amount of harm was done all across our nation. This harm was tangible and included collateral injuries and deaths of unrelated innocents, plus enormous property damage, social division, and a plunge in normal societal trust in it's institutions.

    What caused this? Many things. Let's be honest, a lot of corrupt politicians used this tragedy to intentionally foment and manufacture riots and destructive chaos. They did this solely for craven political advantage. Innocents were maimed and some died because truly despicable public leaders fanned the flames of hatred and emotion. And this behavior became a pandemic because the media cheered it on with propaganda rather than objective reporting. What does that says about the moral character of the media's senior managers and editors? And a whole generation of spoiled brats took up the call to arms and rushed into the streets (on command) to smash windows, set autos on fire, and loot at will. What does that say about our future when these brats mature into adults?

    We have taken a very bad turn in the arch of history in the USA, and that is a problem not easily solved. The events in Kenosha prove that the Wild West has returned and it will only get worse until the rule of law is re-established.

  4. And yet....and YET. How many Republican leaders jumped on "Floyd was murdered " bandwagon? It's obvious why Democrats shout murder before the corpse is cold but Republicans? Disgraceful cowardice.

    Further, the larger problem is that Minneapolis is now stuck. The Leftist mobs demand blood of these officers. If Pilate refuses to offer them up, the mobs will go on yet another mostly peaceful 'shopping spree'

  5. It was reported (though not widely) some weeks ago that the beneficial effect of Covid patients’ being placed on their stomachs was found by the nursing staff while caring for them. They began turning patients who were having trouble breathing. It kept many from having to be placed on ventilators. The science is pretty simple. The rib cage structure allows the lungs to be more expanded, to keep from collapsing against the back as they could if the patient were lying on his back.

    (My own anecdotal evidence goes way back. I found when I was a kid that I could breathe better on my stomach when I had a bad chest cold. It also made it easier to clear any phlegm.)

    Obviously the “easier to breathe on one’s stomach with Covid” didn’t get across to those ranting about George Floyd’s positioning. Officer Chauvin knew it was best.

    George Floyd had committed suicide before he ever met the four Minneapolis police officers. He just didn’t know it yet.