As former Minneapolis cop Derek Chauvin and his colleagues pinned George Floyd on the ground for over nine minutes, the 46-year-old Black man’s airflow was so restricted it was “as if a surgeon had gone in and removed” his lung, a renowned pulmonologist testified Thursday.
“A healthy person subjected to what Mr. Floyd was subjected to would have died as a result of what he was subjected to,” Dr. Martin Tobin, a pulmonary critical care doctor and national breathing expert from Illinois, said after being asked whether a person with no pre-existing conditions would have survived the May 25 arrest.
Tobin, a prosecution witness, told jurors in Hennepin County court that he believed low oxygen levels caused Floyd’s death. He spent hours breaking down, second by second, how Chauvin’s knee on Floyd’s neck for the “vast majority of the time” eventually caused a “low level of oxygen” and ultimately brain damage. He even pinpointed the moment—when Floyd’s eyes can be seen flickering and then closing— that he said was Floyd’s last moment alive.
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