Derek Chauvin trial: Defense medical expert testifies George Floyd’s death was due to underlying heart issues

The defense had a medical expert take the witness stand to testify on Wednesday in the murder trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin.

The expert, Dr. David Fowler, is a retired forensic pathologist and former head of the medical examiner’s office in Maryland.

In his testimony, he said that he believes Floyd, due to his underlying heart issues, had a “sudden cardiac arrhythmia” while being restrained and subdued by police.

The defense argued that Floyd’s hypertensive heart disease and ingestion of meth and fentanyl, together with the struggle with police, led him to suffer from heart strain and ultimately die.

The defense called its first six witnesses to the stand Tuesday after the prosecution had rested its case. The last witness of the day, defense use-of-force expert Barry Brodd, told jurors that Chauvin was “justified” in his use of force.

In his statement, Brodd said, “I felt that Officer Chauvin’s interactions with Mr. Floyd were following his training, following current practices in policing, and objectively reasonable.”

Charged in the death of George Floyd, former officer Derek Chauvin has pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter, with his lawyers arguing that he followed his training stating the main cause of Floyd’s death, which the county examiner ruled a homicide, was a drug overdose. He faces up to 40 years in prison if convicted on the most serious charge.

Minneapolis has seen unrest for several nights following the fatal police shooting of Daunte Wright in nearby Brooklyn Center. The city is currently under curfew.