Hennepin County Chief Medical Examiner Dr. Andrew Baker

In the federal trial of the former Minneapolis police officers accused of violating George Floyd’s civil rights, the medical examiner who performed the autopsy testified on Tuesday.


Chief Medical Examiner Dr. Andrew Baker

On Monday afternoon, Hennepin County Medical Examiner Dr. Andrew Baker began his evidence, stating that he had determined that Floyd died from “cardiopulmonary arrest complicating law enforcement subdual restraint and neck compression.” Baker stated that Floyd’s heart ailment and drug use also had a role in his untimely demise.

Hennepin County Chief Medical Examiner Dr. Andrew Baker

Defense counsel Robert Paule grilled Baker at length on Tuesday about his history with “excited delirium.” In the past, Baker has noted this ailment as the cause of death on several of his death certificates, but he did not include it in his report about Floyd.

The chief medical examiner for Hennepin County told the jury he was sticking by his original assessment that Derek Chauvin and the other Minneapolis police officers who had subdued and restrained George Floyd had caused his death by crushing his neck.

Floyd Died of Health Issues and Narcotics

The defence claims that Floyd died of health issues and narcotics, rather than Chauvin’s use of force, and Dr. Andrew Baker, chief medical examiner since 2004, is a major witness in the murder and manslaughter prosecution.

According to Baker’s statement to police, “If he were discovered dead at home alone and no other apparent causes, this could be acceptable to call an OD” because Floyd’s blood contained 11 ng/mL of fentanyl. Three nanograms has been officially confirmed as the threshold at which deaths are confirmed.

Because of individual differences in drug usage and tolerance, Baker testified on Friday that he has seen overdoses involving lower and higher quantities of fentanyl than that.

Nelson questioned Baker, wanting to know if he mentioned Floyd’s lethal fentanyl dosage to the county attorney. In other situations, that level may be lethal, Baker recalls stating.

The government has charged Kueng (a Black man), Lane (a white man), and Thao (a Hmong American) for violating Floyd’s constitutional rights while in official capacities. In one count, the police are accused of knowing that Floyd needed medical attention but doing nothing to provide it.

Hennepin County Chief Medical Examiner Dr. Andrew Baker: Last Words

One of the charges against Thao and Kueng is that they should have stopped Chauvin but did nothing. According to both counts, Floyd’s death was caused by the police’s activities.

After pleading guilty to a federal civil rights charge, Chauvin was convicted of murder and manslaughter in state court last year. A separate state trial on accusations of accessory to murder and manslaughter is scheduled to begin for Lane, Kueng, and Thao in June. Thanks for reading our article Hennepin County Chief Medical Examiner Dr. Andrew Baker.