(Minneapolis and Washington) The death of George Floyd is due to “a low level of oxygen” after a combination of actions of the police officers who pinned him to the ground for nearly ten minutes, said Thursday an expert at the trial of White agent Derek Chauvin, addressing the central question of the causes of the death of the African-American forty-something.

Derek Chauvin, 45, is accused of killing George Floyd on May 25, 2020 while keeping his knee on the victim’s neck, a drama that has sparked historic anger over racism and police violence in the United States .

George Floyd had repeatedly shouted “I can’t breathe” to the three policemen who kept him lying face down on the asphalt, his hands cuffed behind his back, putting pressure on his back, neck and ribs.

According to Martin Tobin, a renowned pulmonologist called to testify by the prosecution, this combination of factors was fatal to the victim, caught between the force of the police and the ground.

“With each breath, he has to fight against the asphalt, he has to fight with the low level of air he sucks in trying to raise the knees of the police” who rest his handcuffed hands on his rib cage, a- he explained to the jurors, using photos and sketches.

This “low oxygen level” caused by difficulty in breathing “damaged his rain and caused an arrhythmia that caused his heart to stop,” said  Dr. Tobin.

This is the thesis of the prosecution, for whom George Floyd succumbed to asphyxiation, while the autopsy only concluded in cardiac arrest.

The officer’s knee was on George Floyd’s neck and back for “over 90% of the time” the immobilization lasted, said Martin Tobin.  

For the doctor, the pressure exerted by Derek Chauvin on the neck of George Floyd represented at one time “half of his weight and his equipment”, or 41.5 kg according to his calculations.

The forties sank into unconsciousness before stopping breathing.

“This is the moment when life leaves its body,” said the expert, commenting on a video clip.  

Evacuated in an ambulance, George Floyd could not be revived and was pronounced dead in hospital.

A healthy person “would have died from what Mr. Floyd went through,” he said.

Another doctor called by the prosecution, Bill Smock, has ruled out the hypothesis of a death caused by his drug use, advanced by Eric Nelson, the lawyer for Derek Chauvin.  

Toxicological analyzes confirmed the presence of cannabis, methamphetamine and fentanyl, a potent opiate, in the blood of George Floyd.  

According to M e  Nelson, George Floyd could ingest fentanyl just before being arrested, causing difficulty breathing when he was infected with Covid-19.

“He says ‘please push yourself, I want to breathe, I can’t breathe’. It’s not an overdose of fentanyl, it’s someone begging to be allowed to breathe, ”said Dr.  Smock, a physician specializing in emergency care, after the broadcast of a video clip.

In the room, a niece of George Floyd had buried her face in her hands, obviously struggling to bear the scene.

He explained that he saw nothing in the tests that could indicate an overdose of methamphetamines, fentanyl, or both.

r  Smock also highlighted the inaction of police when one of them announces no longer detect the pulse of George Floyd. “They should have started heart massage,” he said, visibly moved.

Several police officials called to testify for nine days considered that Derek Chauvin had used unjustified force and in violation of the code of procedure.

The ex-police officer, who faces up to 40 years in prison, pleads not guilty, claiming to have used a technique consistent with his training to subdue a recalcitrant suspect.

Derek Chauvin’s lawyer claims George Floyd, who had a medical history and was treating chronic opioid addiction, died of an overdose, and that a threatening mob he said had distracted state officials of the forties.  

Discussions are expected to continue for about two more weeks. The verdict of the jurors in this extraordinary trial is not expected before the end of April.

The other police officers involved in the death of George Floyd will be tried for complicity in murder in August.