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MINNEAPOLIS – A medical expert in respiratory physiology testified in the Derek Chauvin murder trial that the way Chauvin and other former police officers restrained George Floyd – handcuffed behind his back, face down, with one 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 asphyxiation. Tobin testified that the combination of the handcuffs, the handling of the handcuffs by the officers, and the sidewalk under Floyd combined to interfere with Floyd’s ability to breathe.

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

The questioning returned to the subject of Floyd’s drug use on Wednesday. His girlfriend Courteney Ross told jurors last week that the two became addicted to opioids four years ago after being prescribed chronic pain medication. Like millions of Americans, they tried to stay clean but failed, she said.

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