Live updates: Medical examiner who performed George Floyd’s autopsy testifies in Chauvin trial

Follow along here for live updates from week two of the Derek Chauvin trial.

Dr. Andrew Baker, the medical examiner who performed George Floyd's autopsy, testifies Friday afternoon. (YouTube screenshot)
Friday, April 9

Dr. Andrew Baker, the medical examiner who conducted George Floyd’s autopsy, was the second witness for the prosecution Friday afternoon. He testified that George Floyd’s brain was not “deprived of blood or oxygen.”

The state’s first witness Friday morning was Dr. Lindsey Thomas, a forensic pathologist. She reviewed George Floyd’s death certificate on the stand and said the mechanism of death was low oxygen, which was due to law enforcement’s “subdual, restraint, and compression” of George Floyd.

“The activities of the law enforcement officers resulted in Mr. Floyd’s death,” Thomas said.

Thursday, April 8

The second witness for the prosecution was Daniel Isenschmid, a forensic toxicologist at NMS labs in Pennsylvania. He testified that samples of George Floyd’s blood produced the presence of both fentanyl and methamphetamine, as well as traces of other substances too low to be reported.

Isenschmid testified on cross examination that opioids bought on the street, which are not necessarily created in a controlled environment, could have any concentration of fentanyl. “Any single incident could cause an adverse reaction,” regardless of tolerance to fentanyl, defense attorney Eric Nelson said, to which Isenschmid agreed.

The state continued calling witnesses Thursday morning, the first being Dr. Martin Tobin, a physician who specializes in pulmonology — the study of the lungs and respiratory system — and critical care medicine. Tobin testified that, in his professional opinion, George Floyd died “from a low level of oxygen.” He agreed that fentanyl “can cause death as a result of low oxygen to the brain.”

Wednesday, April 7

Mckenzie Anderson, a forensic scientist with the BCA, said after testing a small white pill found behind the passenger seat of the squad car, she determined the DNA matched the DNA profile of George Floyd.

The second witness for the day was James Reyerson, special agent with the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension and the primary case agent in this case. During cross examination, Reyerson was shown body camera footage in which George Floyd can seemingly be heard saying, “I ate too many drugs.” Reyerson agreed that is what is heard in the video.

The court continued Wednesday morning with the testimony of LAPD Sgt. Jody Stiger, expert witness on police use of force for the prosecution. Stiger testified that George Floyd’s “active resistance” justified the use of force by the officers in their attempts to get Floyd into the squad car.

Tuesday, April 6

Minneapolis police Lt. Johnny Mercil, a use of force trainer for the department, testified that photos from body cameras worn by the officers on scene appear to show Derek Chauvin’s knee placed between George Floyd’s shoulder blades, and does not appear to be a “neck restraint.”

The court began the day by discussing Morries Hall’s intention to invoke his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination. Hall was with Floyd on the day of his death and allegedly sold him drugs in the past. He is currently in prison and appeared in court remotely Tuesday morning with his attorney.

Judge Peter Cahill hasn’t issued a final ruling, but indicated that he’s inclined to require Hall to testify on a very narrow subject matter. For most topics, Cahill said Hall has a legitimate Fifth Amendment right.

Monday, April 5 

One of the most highly-anticipated moments of the trial began Monday when Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo took the stand for the state.

The first witness to testify Monday morning was Dr. Bradford Wankhede Langenfeld, a physician at Hennepin County Medical Center who cared for George Floyd. At the time, Langenfeld believed oxygen deficiency, or asphyxiation, caused Floyd’s fatal cardiac arrest.

Live updates from week one