The African-American man whose demise has sparked civil unrest across the US died from asphyxia (lack of oxygen), a private post-mortem examination found.
George Floyd, forty-six, died as a result of compression on his neck and back by Minneapolis police officers, the BBC reports medical examiners hired by the deceased’s family as saying.
The findings differ from an official preliminary examination conducted by the county medical examiner.
It found no evidence of “traumatic asphyxia or strangulation”.
The official examination also said underlying health conditions played a role in Mr. Floyd’s death.
But the two doctors hired by the Floyd family found the death was a homicide, a statement from its legal team said.
Countering the “underlying health condition” claim by the official finding, Dr. Michael Baden, one of the two private examiners, said there was “no other health issue that could cause or contribute to the death”.
“The cause of death in my opinion is asphyxia, due to compression to the neck – which can interfere with oxygen going to the brain – and compression to the back, which interferes with breathing,” Dr. Baden, a former New York City medical examiner, told a news conference on Monday.
Addressing the same news conference, Benjamin Crump, a Floyd family lawyer, said: “Beyond doubt he would be alive today if not for the pressure applied to his neck by officer Derek Chauvin and the strain on his body by two other officers.”
A video showing a white police officer kneeling on George Floyd’s neck for nearly nine minutes, even after he pleaded he could not breathe, sparked outrage when it emerged a week ago.
It has led to six consecutive days of protests around the US and a level of civil unrest not seen this widely across the country in decades.