A white man who was trained in South Africa during the apartheid era, and who was considered to be a ‘leading’ forensic pathologist, took the stand in the Derek Chauvin trial on Wednesday, and began to spread theories that several other medical experts and commentators described on television as ‘trash’ and a ‘waste basket.’
Dr. David Fowler, a controversial witness, who is being sued by the family of a Black teenager, Anton Black, killed by the Maryland police in 2018 after being held face down by three officers, is a former chief medical examiner in Maryland.
In the Anton Black case, Fowler testified that the teen died from natural causes, with his bipolar disorder a contributing factor.
On Wednesday, he testified for the defense in the trial of Derek Chauvin, claiming that the police vehicle exhaust may have led to the death of George Floyd on May 25, 2020, by raising the amount of carbon monoxide in his blood, thereby affecting his heart.
Fowler claimed that George Floyd, 46, was killed by his heart condition and drug use, a cause of death that has been dismissed by virtually all other medical experts, including the medical examiner and the doctor who tried to revive Floyd.
Fowler claimed the combination of cardiac disease, methamphetamine use and carbon monoxide killed the African American man last year.
“All of those combined to cause Mr. Floyd’s death,” he said.
Floyd died last May after Derek Chauvin, a white police officer with the Minneapolis Police Department, pressed his knee on his neck for 9 minutes and 29 seconds.
Chauvin remained on Floyd’s neck for more than three minutes after he stopped breathing, with his hands in his pockets, providing no medical attention, even as the public raised concerns, and called on the cops to check his pulse.
Fowler was called by Chauvin’s lawyer, Eric Nelson, to raise doubt about the testimony of other medical experts who said at the trial and demonstrated that Floyd died because of lack of oxygen while he was pinned to the ground by Chauvin’s knee on his neck. Two other police officers restrained Floyd even as he told them he could not breathe.
Fowler said he eliminated asphyxia as cause of death and did not even acknowledge that “restrain” played a part in triggering the cardiac arrhythmia that killed Floyd.
According to lab results, George Floyd had a carbon monoxide level of 1.5 percent, which was in the normal range of between 0 and 3 percent for all human beings.
On Thursday, the prosecution invited Dr. Martin Tobin whose book has been described as the “bible of mechanical ventilation” to offer a rebuttal.
Taking the stand, Dr. Tobin rejected the false claims that carbon monoxide could have killed Floyd, saying that the level of carbon monoxide in Floyd’s system was normal and had nothing to do with his death.
The prosecution and defense each rested their case on Thursday and will present their closing arguments on Monday and the deliberations will begin shortly after before judgement is delivered.