The attorney for George Floyd’s family slammed the local medical examiner’s findings that detailed fentanyl in Floyd’s system, calling it an attempt to assassinate the man’s character.
The Hennepin County Medical Examiner’s Office on Monday announced it has classified Floyd’s death a homicide, ruling his heart stopped when police compressed his neck in the widely viewed video of Floyd’s arrest. But the office also noted “other significant conditions” in its report, listing heart disease; fentanyl intoxication and recent methamphetamine use.
Those findings weren’t listed under the cause of death, but Benjamin Crump, the family lawyer, on Tuesday called the toxicology results a “red herring” and said it was distracting from the fact that the officers kneeling on his neck and lungs caused Floyd’s death.
“It is an attempt to assassinate his character after they assassinated him right then on the video,” Crump said during a news conference Tuesday.
Crump has released a separate, independent autopsy commissioned by Floyd’s family that also ruled his death a homicide — but from asphyxia from both neck and back compression.
The attorney is now demanding prosecutors up the charges being brought against Minneapolis officer Derek Chauvin, who was filmed kneeling on Floyd’s neck, from third- to first-degree murder.
“I think it’s very likely that the charges are going to be upgraded … why is it when a white police [officer] kills a black person in America we act like it’s such a difficult thing to charge them with what we would be charged with?” Crump said in a separate interview on NBC News’ “Today” show.
He’s also calling for the three other officers who assisted Chauvin in Floyd’s arrest to be charged and is confident their day in court will come.
“We heard that they expect to charge those officers … We understand they will be charged,” he said.
Floyd’s death has sparked outrage across the country, where cities are grappling with emotional and violent protests as his family pleads with demonstrators to remain peaceful.
Crump said the only way to put out the fires in American cities was to hold police accountable, but he asked America to “take a breath” for Floyd.
“What he needed was breath,” Crump said of Floyd. “The family’s asked everybody to take a breath — just to take a breath for peace, take a breath for justice. If George was here, he would be asking people to peacefully protest.”
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