George Floyd had tested positive for the coronavirus in April, a full autopsy has revealed, though it was not a factor in his death. Floyd was likely no longer symptomatic at the time of his death last week while in Minneapolis police custody, according to Dr. Andrew Baker, the chief medical examiner at Hennepin County.
"Since … positivity for [COVID-19] can persist for weeks after the onset and resolution of clinical disease, the autopsy result most likely reflects asymptomatic but persistent … positivity from previous infection," Baker wrote in the report, which was released Wednesday with the permission of Floyd family. The entire 20-page report maintains that Floyd's death was a homicide — that he died when his heart stopped while officer Derek Chauvin pinned his neck with his knee for nearly nine minutes. Floyd's family also conducted their own independent autopsy that was released this week and ruled differently — that Floyd's homicide was caused by asphyxia from both neck and back compression due to the weight of another officer, Thomas Lane, pressed on his abdomen.
Chauvin, Lane and two other officers who assisted in the arrest — J Alexander Kueng and Tou Thao — were all fired from the police department last week and officially charged in the homicide. Chauvin was charged last week with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter — though the murder charge was elevated to second-degree on Wednesday. And Lane, Kueng and Thao were all charged Wednesday with aiding and abetting second-degree murder and aiding and abetting second-degree manslaughter.
The medical examiner's office's findings included "other significant conditions" Floyd had: heart disease, fentanyl intoxication and recent methamphetamine — details that bothered Floyd's family attorney, Benjamin Crump. On Tuesday, Crump said that the inclusion of those conditions, which were not ruled to be a factor in his death in either autopsy, was an attempt to "assassinate [Floyd's] character" ahead of this officers' trials.
Along with the positive COVID-19 test, the full medical examiner's autopsy detailed that Floyd had suffered from blunt-force injuries to his face, shoulders, hands, arms and legs; bruises on his wrists from handcuffs; and a broken rib during cardiopulmonary resuscitation.
Nationwide, there have been widespread demonstrations protesting Floyd's death — as well as racial injustice and police brutality — that have resulted in a large number of arrests amid the mostly peaceful protests, as more than 9,800 individuals have reportedly been arrested. CNN reported that there have approximately been 9,839 arrests across the country, starting on May 26, the day after Floyd was killed.