George Floyd died of asphyxia caused by a police officer kneeling on his back and neck, according to the private medical examiner hired by Floyd’s family.
In a statement released by attorney Ben Crump, who represents the Floyd family, Dr Michael Baden said “What we found was consistent with what people saw.
“There is no other health issue that could cause or contribute to his death.”
Floyd, an African-American man, died last Monday after he was arrested in the US city of Minneapolis. He was 46.
Footage of his arrest, captured by onlookers, shows Minneapolis Police Department Derek Chauvin kneeling on Floyd’s neck for several minutes.
Floyd could be heard saying “I can’t breathe” during the incident. Distressed bystanders can be heard urging Chauvin, a white man, to lift his knee from Floyd’s neck.
The video shows a handcuffed Floyd losing consciousness and being lifted onto a stretcher. Minneapolis Police Department said he later died in hospital.
“The ambulance was his hearse,” Crump said.
Those findings stand against a preliminary report from the Hennepin County Medical Examiner’s office, which pointed to the “combined effect of Floyd being restrained by the police, his underlying health conditions, and any potential intoxicants in his system likely contributed to his death.”
The full results of the official post-mortem are yet to be released.
Footage of Floyd’s arrest was widely shared, sparking mass protests in Minneapolis, other locations in the United States, and, eventually, in cities across the world.
Amid those protests, all four police officers involved in Floyd’s arrest were fired from the department. Chauvin was charged with manslaughter and third-degree murder.
Crump wants that latter charge upgraded.
“For Chauvin to leave his knee on Floyd’s neck despite evidence and warnings that his life was in danger – and to continue that course for many minutes – demands a first-degree murder charge,” he said.
Protests continue across the United States and further abroad, with countless demonstrators demanding an end to police brutality, racist violence, and the systems which enforce inequality.