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Medical examiner says George Floyd’s heart disease, drug use contributed to his death

Altercation with police “tipped him over the edge,” doctor claims.

Published: April 10, 2021 10:59am

Updated: April 10, 2021 3:29pm

A doctor testifying in the trial of ex-Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin says George Floyd’s drug use and underlying health conditions contributed to Floyd's death last summer when being arrested by Chauvin and other police officers.

Hennepin County Chief Medical Examiner Dr. Andrew Baker said Friday that Floyd’s "severe heart disease" and his "toxicology" were contributing factors to his death as Chauvin knelt on his neck for nearly 10 minutes.

Floyd was arrested for allegedly trying to pass off a counterfeit $20 bill and resisted being put into a police cruiser during the May 25, 2020, incident. 

"He has a heart that already needs more oxygen than a normal heart by virtue of its size," Baker said during the trial, arguing "the law-enforcement subdural restraint and neck compression was just more than Mr. Floyd could take."

He also said: "It was the stress of that interaction that tipped him over the edge, given his underlying heart disease and given his toxicology."

Floyd was found to have significant quantities of the narcotic fentanyl in his system after his death and also apparently ingested methamphetamines prior to the incident.

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