Prosecutors relied on the testimony of Dr. Martin Tobin, a pulmonary specialist at the Edward Hines, Jr. VA Hospital and Loyola University’s medical school in Chicago, who told jurors that Floyd died from lack of oxygen to the brain, caused by Chauvin’s decision to kneel on his neck for almost nine minutes and Floyd’s positioning on the ground.
In turn the sequence of events damaged Floyd’s brain and caused his heart to stop. “A healthy person subjected to what Mr. Floyd was subjected to would have died as a result of what he was subjected to,” Tobin stated.
Tobin used intricate graphics to back up his assessment, stating that Chauvin kept his knee on Floyd’s neck for an extended period of time, past the point where his body lost oxygen.
Though Floyd lost all of his oxygen at approximately 8:25 on May 25, Chauvin continued to kneel on his neck for another three minutes, according to Tobin’s testimony.
Tobin told jurors that because of Chauvin’s positioning, placing his full body weight on Floyd’s neck, the ability to breathe became nearly impossible, and likened it to attempting to breathe through a straw.
According to eyewitness accounts, jurors began touching their necks, clearly resonating with Tobin’s intense description of what transpired.
Tobin’s testimony also dismantled the defense’s use of photos taken which show five minutes into the confrontation where Chauvin was captured kneeling on Floyd’s shoulder blade. At one point Tobin stated the position of Floyd’s hands and knuckles indicated he was using them in an attempt to breathe.
Lastly, one of the most important parts of Tobin’s testimony was where he said fentanyl did not cause Floyd’s death.
Even though the world watched Floyd’s death, remaining triggered by the horrific imagery, Tobin’s testimony added another layer of difficulty for the defense whose case stands on the narrative that Chauvin’s use of excessive force was not a factor in Floyd’s death.