Two doctors who carried out an independent autopsy of George Floyd say he died of “mechanical asphyxia” and that his death was a homicide.
It comes as unrest on the streets of the US has continued for a sixth night, with protesters calling for all four officers who pinned down the unarmed black man in Minneapolis a week ago to be charged.
So far, only Derek Chauvin – the officer filmed with his knee to Mr Floyd’s neck – has been charged with murder.
On Tuesday morning (Australian time), Mr Floyd’s brother was among the voices calling for calm.
‘No underlying medical conditions’
Dr Baden said Mr Floyd’s death was caused by pressure on his neck and by the knees of two officers on his back.
“We can see after a little bit less than four minutes that Mr Floyd is motionless, lifeless,” Mr Baden said.
Dr Baden also examined the body of Eric Garner – a black man who died in New York in similar circumstance in 2014.
He found that the weight on Mr Floyd’s back made it hard for him to breathe and the compression cut off blood to his brain, ultimately causing his death.
“The evidence is consistent with mechanical asphyxia as cause of death and homicide as manner of death,” said Dr Allecia Wilson of the University of Michigan. She was the second doctor to perform an independent autopsy.
However, the original autopsy by the Hennepin County Medical Examiner found nothing “to support a diagnosis of traumatic asphyxia or strangulation”.
It concluded Mr Floyd died from the “combined effects” of being restrained by police and having “underlying health conditions”, as well as “any potential intoxicants in his system”.
It found no evidence of traumatic strangulation and said coronary artery disease and hypertension also likely contributed to Mr Floyd’s death.
That preliminary autopsy report did not go into further detail about the “intoxicants”. However, the results of a toxicology report are expected within weeks.
Mr Chauvin, who is white and has been fired from the Minneapolis police department, was charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter last week.
On Tuesday morning (Australian time), he was moved to a maximum-security prison.