Derek Chauvin trial live: Doctor says officers' restraint position was like a vise, restricting George Floyd's breathing

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. Tobin testified that the combination of the handcuffs, the officers’ manipulation of the cuffs and the pavement beneath Floyd combined to interfere with Floyd’s ability to breathe.

The overall effect was almost “as if a surgeon had gone in and removed the lung,” he said, referring to Floyd’s left lung.

Wednesday, questioning returned to the topic of Floyd’s drug use. His girlfriend Courteney Ross told jurors last week the two both became addicted to opioids four years ago after they were prescribed the drugs for chronic pain. Like millions of Americans, they tried to go clean but failed, she said.

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