MINNEAPOLIS — A medical expert in the physiology of breathing testified in the murder trial of Derek Chauvin that the way Chauvin and other former police officers restrained George Floyd — handcuffed behind his back, face-down on the ground, with a knee on his neck — prevented him from breathing properly.

Dr. Martin Tobin said the cause of Floyd’s death was hypoxia, or a low level of oxygen that led to asphyxia, or suffocation. The overall effect of the restraint was almost “as if a surgeon had gone in and removed the lung,” he said, referring to Floyd’s left lung.

Chauvin is charged with second-degree murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter in Floyd’s death. The defense argues Floyd died as a result of the drugs in his system and underlying medical issues, but prosecutors say Floyd was killed by Chauvin’s knee on his neck for more than nine minutes.



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