First up during Wednesday’s session was the defense’s request for a judgment of acquittal. The defense argued that the prosecution had failed to present what they described as “sufficient evidence” with regards to key case issues. More specifically, the defense said the prosecution had not provided such evidence on the issue of use-of-force and had not proven the cause of Floyd’s death.
Hennepin County District Judge Peter Cahill denied the defense’s motion.
The person who was with Floyd on the day of the fatal 2020 arrest, Morries Hall, then confirmed he would invoke the Fifth Amendment when asked about testifying. As previously discussed amid the trial, both Hall and his lawyer have argued that answering questions could potentially be used to incriminate him, regardless of whether Chauvin is ultimately convicted.
After a brief break, the defense called Dr. David Fowler, a retired pathologist. Fowler is also a former chief medical examiner in Maryland and is currently at the center of a lawsuit alleging he helped cover up police’s part in the 2018 death of 19-year-old Anton Black, a Black man who died while in police custody.
“In my opinion, Mr. Floyd had a sudden cardiac arrhythmia or cardiac arrhythmia due to his atherosclerotic and hypertensive heart disease—you can write that down multiple different ways—during his restraint and subdual by police, or restraint by the police,” Fowler told the court Wednesday.
Fowler then detailed to the defense what he believed to be the “contributory conditions” to Floyd’s death.
“His significant contributory conditions would be—since I’ve already put the heart disease in part one—he would have the toxicology, the fentanyl and methamphetamine,” Fowler said. “There is exposure to a vehicle exhaust, so potentially carbon monoxide poisoning or at least an effect from increased carbon monoxide in his bloodstream, and paraganglioma or the natural disease process that he has. So, all of those combined to cause Mr. Floyd’s death.”
Fowler was then cross-examined by the prosecution.
On the same day as Fowler’s testimony, the family of Anton Black shared a statement with WTOP News.
“It’s surreal that you have two men on the opposite sides of the country that experienced almost the same treatment by two different police officers,” LaToya Holley, Anton’s sister, said. “The medical examiner, in my opinion, was egregious in the way he finalized Anton’s autopsy results. Now, he’s being called to be an expert witness for another police officer.”