George Floyd tried to use his hands to lift his shoulders off the street so he could breathe as police officers pinned him to the ground.
A pulmonology medical expert used arrest photos and bodycam videos that show Floyd was trying to ‘literally breathe with his fingers and knuckles.’
Dr. Martin Tobin testified as a prosecution witness during former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin’s trial.
During his testimony, Dr. Tobin of Loyola University’s medical school said he believed the cause of death was due to a lack of oxygen as cops pinned Floyd to the ground.
He also mentioned several factors that made it difficult for the father to breathe: Chauvin’s knee on his neck, lying face down, the hard ground, a knee on his back, cops lifting up on his handcuffs, and his turned head.
“He was being squashed between the two sides,” Dr. Tobin said. He also told the court that the handcuffs and the pressure of the officers rendered movement so impossible that it negatively affected Floyd’s left lung.
“Basically on the left side of his lung, it was almost to the effect of if a surgeon had gone in and removed his lung,” Dr. Tobin continued, saying that Floyd needed to be ‘totally dependent’ on his right lung.
“He’s actually using his nose and chin and forehead as a way of trying to help him get air into the right side of his chest,” he expressed, pointing to a photo taken from a bodycam video of the father trying to push his knuckles against the tire of the police car beside him.
“This tells you he’s used up his resources and he’s literally trying to breathe through his fingers and knuckles,” Dr Tobin explained.
“When you breathe you use your diaphragm, next thing you recruit is the big muscles in the neck, when those are wasted up then you’re relying on these kinds of muscles to get air into the right side.”
When asked if Dr. Tobin had determined a cause of death after watching videos from the incident, he said: “Mr Floyd died from a low level of oxygen… The cause of low level of oxygen was shallow breathing. Small breaths that weren’t able to carry the air through his lungs.”
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