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State Investigation Launched Into Medical Examiner Over Determination Chauvin Not Responsible For Floyd Death

State Investigation Launched Into Medical Examiner Over Determination Chauvin Not Responsible For Floyd Death

Medical examiner David Fowler, who testified that former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin was not responsible for the death of George Floyd, is now under investigation by state officials.

Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh and Republican Governor Larry Hogan announced an “independent review” of all Fowler’s cases of in-custody deaths, Newsweek reported this weekend.Fowler served as Maryland’s chief medical examiner for 17 years before stepping down in 2019. During the Chauvin trial, Fowler testified that Floyd’s death should be classified as “undetermined,” not as a “homicide.”

“In my opinion, Mr. Floyd had a sudden cardiac arrhythmia … due to his atherosclerotic and hypertensive heart disease … during his restraint and subdual by the police,” Fowler said, NPR reported.

Fowler and his team determined fentanyl and methamphetamine contributed to Floyd’s death, NPR noted, adding that the medical examiner also stated that there was “exposure to vehicle exhaust, so potentially carbon monoxide poisoning or at least an effect from increased carbon monoxide in his bloodstream.”According to Fowler, Chauvin, at 140 pounds, used a “single-knee technique” to restrain Floyd while awaiting paramedics, applying less than 23% of his body weight.

Fowler concluded Chauvin’s knee in no way “impacted the structures of Mr. Floyd’s neck.”

“None of the vital structures were in the area where the knee appeared to be from the videos,” he testified.The medical examiner’s conclusions were apparently unacceptable to former chief medical examiner of Washington, D.C., Dr. Roger Mitchell Jr., who penned an open letter calling for Fowler to be investigated. Hundreds of other doctors signed the letter in agreement.

“Dr. Fowler’s stated opinion that George Floyd’s death during active police restraint should be certified with an ‘undetermined’ manner is outside the standard practice and conventions for investigating and certification of in-custody deaths,” the letter said. “This stated opinion raises significant concerns for his previous practice and management.”

Fowler’s testimony was “baseless, revealed obvious bias, and raised malpractice concerns,” the letter added. “Our disagreement with Dr. Fowler is not a matter of opinion. Our disagreement with Dr. Fowler is a matter of ethics.”

In response, AG Frosh’s office said in a statement, “We agree that it is appropriate for independent experts to review reports issued by the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner (OCME) regarding deaths in custody.”

Fowler has noted that he worked with “a large team of forensic pathologists” to come to his findings.

“There’s a large team of forensic pathologists, with layers of supervision, and those medical examiners always did tremendous work,” the medical examiner said.

On Tuesday, Chauvin was found guilty of second-degree murder, third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter in relation to the death of Floyd.

Chauvin’s attorney Eric Nelson argued during the trial that Floyd’s drug use and bad heart were crucial factors in his death, and that Chauvin used reasonable force through an authorized prone hold.

The Hennepin County medical examiner revealed that Floyd’s autopsy showed the deceased had potentially lethal levels of drugs in his system.


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