Experts: Floyd’s health issues don’t affect homicide ruling

FILE - This undated file photo provided by Christopher Harris shows George Floyd. Floyd died May 25, after he was pinned to the pavement by a police officer who put his knee on the handcuffed black man's neck until he stopped breathing. (Christopher Harris via AP, File)
FILE - This undated file photo provided by Christopher Harris shows George Floyd. Floyd died May 25, after he was pinned to the pavement by a police officer who put his knee on the handcuffed black man's neck until he stopped breathing. (Christopher Harris via AP, File)

George Floyd had drugs in his system and severe heart disease when a Minneapolis police officer put a knee to his neck, but independent experts said the medical problems revealed in the full autopsy report don’t change the conclusion that the handcuffed man’s death was a homicide.

“He has some underlying conditions” that made it more likely he would not fare well under stress, said Dr. Gregory Davis, medical examiner for Jefferson County, Alabama, and a pathology professor at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. But the circumstances of Floyd’s May 25 death are not ignored in Wednesday’s report, which said “restraint and neck compression are part of why he died,” Davis said.

Dr. Stephen Nelson, chairman of Florida’s medical examiners commission, agreed. Even if someone with severe heart disease died of a heart attack during a purse-snatching, “we’d still call it a homicide,” he said.

“Is this stress associated with his interaction with law enforcement enough to put him over the edge? Yes, it is,” Nelson said.