Yesterday, a medical expert testified at Derek Chauvin's murder trial and, in doing so, revealed some heartbreaking new details surrounding George Floyd's horrifying death.
Here's the full story...
Warning: This article contains details that some readers may find upsetting.
Nearly a year on from the now-infamous incident, the man accused of killing George Floyd, Derek Chauvin, is finally standing trial.
The highly-anticipated murder trial kicked off last week in Minneapolis at the Hennepin County Courthouse on March 29th.
According to the Daily Mail, the prosecution started proceedings by playing the horrifying video of the moment Chauvin dug his knee into Floyd's neck as he cried out, "I can't breathe."
As the trial of Derek Chauvin begins, my thoughts are with the Floyd family and every American impacted by racist police brutality collectively reliving this trauma today. May justice be served.— George Takei (@GeorgeTakei) March 30, 2021
Special prosecutor Jerry Blackwell told the jury in his opening statement:
"You can believe your eyes. That it's homicide, it's murder."
In the last week, many people have been called forward to testify...
Including a 911 operator who witnessed the ordeal via CCTV.
"You're going to learn that there was a 911 dispatcher. Her name is Jena Scurry," Blackwell told the jury. "There was a fixed police camera that was trained on this particular scene. She could see through the camera what was going on."
Scurry witnessed the entire ordeal...
And was the one to call the police on the police.
Fearing that Chauvin and the 3 other officers who stood by were taking things too far, Scurry called Minneapolis Sgt. David Pleoger, who oversaw the officers involved in the arrest in progress.
"You will learn that what she saw was so unusual and, for her, so disturbing that she did something that she had never done in her career."
As prosecutors played the police camera video of Floyd on the ground, Scurry explained:
"My instincts were telling me something was wrong. It was a gut instinct of the incident: Something is not going right. Whether it be they needed more assistance. Just something wasn't right."
New bodycam footage from the events of May 25th was also presented to the jury...
And gave fresh details of the minutes leading up to Floyd's arrest, as well as the moment he was confronted by the police officers.
As reported by BBC News, the court was shown bodycam footage from Thomas Lane, J. Alexander Kueng, and Tou Thao, all of whom are facing aiding and abetting charges.
In the footage, Floyd can be seen sitting behind the wheel of his car, begging the officers not to shoot him.
At one point, one of the officers pulls his gun as Floyd continues to plead with them.
Floyd was visibly very distressed by the presence of the police officers, and can be heard saying:
"Please don't shoot me, please, man… I just lost my mom."
He can then be heard trying to assure the officers that he'll "do anything you tell me to"...
"I'm not a bad guy, man."
Of course, the footage was utterly chilling to watch.
But now, days on from that revelation, the prosecution called an outside expert witness to testify about Floyd's cause of death, which remains at the center of the ongoing trial.
Prosecutors say that Chauvin's knee on Floyd's neck contributed to his death...
While Chauvin's defense argues that Floyd's use of illicit drugs and his underlying medical conditions were the key factors.
Well, Dr. Martin Tobin, a pulmonary and critical medicine doctor with forty-five years of experience in the field, testified yesterday...
And his outlook on Floyd's cause of death could very well change everything.
People are horrified by his findings...
Have been dipping in and out of watching the trial... Seeing the carefully explained evidence given by Dr Tobin today, the science, the numbers, what they mean... The torture. Heartbreaking. 💔— michellecharlesworth🌍 (@mcharlesworth71) April 8, 2021
This is so compelling, I don’t understand how Chauvin doesn’t just plead guilty. It’s horrifying and I feel sorry for the jurors.— ANS (@Ambrens) April 8, 2021
that's a damning testimony,so the knee was the cause of death of George Floyd— Tonny (@TonnyAdamms) April 5, 2021
Many trials have medical experts. This is a legitimate world renown expert. Every doctor, nurse, respiratory therapist working in the ICU knows about Tobin index he invented. 👆👆👆— Elliott R Haut, MD, PhD (@elliotthaut) April 9, 2021
I thought I had seen some compelling testimonies during this trial but this Pulmonologist's testimony is serious. I can't wait to see how the defense tries to discredit him. WOW!!— MsEve2u (@msvetteo1) April 8, 2021
That HAS to close the case then. Like, done.— boblacksballast (@boblacksballas1) April 8, 2021
Dr. Tobin testified that Floyd died due to a low level of oxygen caused by the combination of being handcuffed in the prone position on the ground...
And Chauvin's left knee on his neck and right knee on his back, compromising his ability to breathe.
"Mr. Floyd died from a low level of oxygen, and this caused damage to his brain that we see, and it also caused a PEA arrhythmia that caused his heart to stop."
The jury was shown an image from an officer's body camera video in which Floyd's knuckles are seen pressed against the tire of the squad car while Chauvin's knees are on his neck and back.
Dr. Tobin said that while this gesture would not seem important to most people, it was "extraordinarily significant" to a physiologist.
"This tells you that [Floyd] has used up his resources, and he's now literally trying to breathe with his fingers and knuckles," he said. "He was using his fingers and his knuckles against the street to try and crank up the right side of his chest... it was his only way to try and get air to get into the right lung."
Dr. Tobin explained that people first use their diaphragm and rib cage to breathe, but if these become unavailable then they will try to use the sternum muscle in their neck.
"When those are wasted up, then you're relying on these types of muscles like your fingers to try and stabilize your whole right side," Dr. Tobin said, "because [Floyd's] totally dependent on getting air into the right side."
He added that Floyd's left side was squeezed in a "vise" between the officers on top of him pushing his handcuffs against his back and the "hard asphalt" of the street.
"He was being squashed between the 2 sides," Dr. Tobin said, adding that his ability to expand his left side to breathe was "enormously impaired."
Dr. Tobin also explained that Floyd had tried to use his shoulder to breathe on his left side, which is "one of the very last muscles" people use to breathe.
"It's a very poor way of breathing," Tobin told the jury, "but it's what you have to do when everything else is failing."
The jury was also shown an image where Chauvin's toe was seen lifted off the ground while his knee was on Floyd's neck.
“The toe of his boot is no longer touching the ground, this means that all of his body weight is being directed down at Mr. Floyd’s neck,” testified Dr. Tobin. This visual presented during court says a lot. #DerekChauvin pic.twitter.com/D9xfAGim5V— Omar Jimenez (@OmarJimenez) April 8, 2021
This meant 91.5 pounds, half of Chauvin's weight, was directly compressing Floyd's neck at that point, Dr.Tobin said.
The trial continues.