Derek Chauvin is on trial for George Floyd's death

By Meg Wagner, Melissa Macaya, Mike Hayes, Melissa Mahtani and Veronica Rocha, CNN

Updated 0212 GMT (1012 HKT) April 13, 2021
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12:56 p.m. ET, April 12, 2021

Cardiologist says he believes Floyd's death "was absolutely preventable"

Cardiologist Dr. Jonathan Rich told the court he believes George Floyd's death "was absolutely preventable."

The prosecution asked Rich if he had an "opinion to a reasonable degree of medical certainty as to whether Mr. Floyd's death was preventable."

"Yes, I do," Rich said.

"Yes, I believe that Mr. George Floyd's death was absolutely preventable," he continued. 

Rich explained several instances where, in his opinion, different actions could have been taken that could have saved his life.

"The first, of course, was to not subject him to that initial – that initial prone restraint positioning that he was subjected to. That is first and foremost. So if that was not the case, I don't think he would have died," he said.

"The second, though, was when he was in that subdual, and restraint positioning, and he was stating repeatedly that he can't breathe. And he was getting a little weaker in his speech. There was one moment in the video where I heard one of the officers saying I think he's passing out. That would have been an opportunity to quickly relieve him from that position of not getting enough oxygen, perhaps turn him into a recovery position and allow him to start to expand his lungs again and bring in oxygen and get rid of carbon dioxide. So in addition to not putting him in that position in the first place, when there were signs that he was worsening, repositioning him, I think very likely would have saved his life," he added.

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12:09 p.m. ET, April 12, 2021

George Floyd showed no "signs or symptoms of fentanyl overdose," cardiologist says

Cardiologist Dr. Jonathan Rich testifies on Monday, April 12. 
Cardiologist Dr. Jonathan Rich testifies on Monday, April 12.  Pool

Dr. Jonathan Rich, a cardiologist who reviewed the medical records in the case, testified that he saw "no evidence" that George Floyd died from an opioid overdose.

He said he reached this conclusion based on "two major reasonings." Number one, Dr. Rich said, that Floyd appeared to be an "acknowledged frequent, chronic user of substances, particularly opiates" and had "likely developed a high degree of tolerance."

The second and "maybe more important" reason that he reached this conclusion, Dr. Rich said, "was I didn't see any of the signs of an opiate overdose when I reviewed the videos." 

"So in my experience in the intensive care unit, taking care of patients who come in with an opiate overdose, first of all they are usually extremely lethargic. Oftentimes nearly unarousable and you try to wake them up and they're falling right back asleep. They're not talking to you, if they are talking to you they're often having slurred speech. If they're standing up, which they wouldn't be if they had a fentanyl intoxication, an overdose. They would have to get pretty dizzy pretty quickly," he said.

He continued: "I saw the opposite with Mr. Floyd. I saw that he was alert. He was awake. He was conversant. He was walking and yet according to the toxicology report he had this degree of fentanyl in his system. So just looking at the clinical story I didn't see any signs or symptoms of fentanyl overdose." 

11:57 a.m. ET, April 12, 2021

Cardiologist: George Floyd was restrained in a "life-threatening manner"

Dr. Jonathan Rich, a cardiologist, testified that former police officer Derek Chauvin restrained George Floyd in a "life-threatening manner" on May 25, 2020.

He said specifically his observations were the Floyd "was on the ground in the prone position. Handcuffed, hands behind the back. A knee on the back of his neck. A knee on the back of his bumper torso or shoulder. Hands pushing his handcuffed hands up into his chest."

He said that he observed Chauvin's knee "compressing" Floyd and his "lower extremities being pinned down to the ground." 

Rich testified that while watching the videos from the scene that he observed Floyd go into cardiopulmonary arrest.

Dr. Rich is a cardiologist from Northwestern University. He reviewed the case after Floyd's death. He is being paid $1,200 per day to testify at the trial.

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11:32 a.m. ET, April 12, 2021

Cardiologist: George Floyd "did not die from a drug overdose"

Cardiologist Dr. Jonathan Rich testifies on Monday, April 12. 
Cardiologist Dr. Jonathan Rich testifies on Monday, April 12.  Pool

Dr. Jonathan Rich, a cardiologist who testified that George Floyd died from low oxygen levels induced by positional asphyxia, said he ruled out other possible causes of death during his analysis — including a "primary heart event" or a drug overdose.

By primary heart event, Rich said, he means something that originated in the heart like a heart attack. He said that it was his analysis that Floyd did not suffer from heart disease at the time of his death.

"After reviewing all of the facts in evidence of the case, I can state with a high degree of medical certainty that George Floyd did not die from a primary cardiac event and he did not die from a drug overdose," Rich said.

Rich said that Floyd suffered from three medical problems at the time of his death. 

"Number one, he had hypertension, high blood pressure. Number two, it appeared to me that he may have suffered from anxiety. And, three, it looked like he also struggled with substance abuse," the doctor said.

11:21 a.m. ET, April 12, 2021

Cardiologist: George Floyd's death was caused by "low oxygen levels"

Dr. Jonathan Rich, a cardiologist, gave his assessment of how George Floyd died during his testimony today.

"Mr. George Floyd died from a cardiopulmonary arrest. It was caused by low oxygen levels and those low oxygen levels were induced by the prone restraint and positional asphyxiation that he was subjected to."

Asked by prosecuting attorney Jerry Blackwell what caused the low level of oxygen in Floyd's case, Rich said, "it was the truly the prone restraint and positional restraints that led to his asphyxiation."

"In a nutshell, he was just simply unable, using all of his muscles and respiration, his chest wall — what we call accessory muscles of respiration...He was trying to get enough oxygen and because he was unable to, because of the position he was subjected to, as we just discussed, the heart thus didn't have enough oxygen either which then means the entire body is deprived of oxygen," he said.

After Floyd's death, Rich was contacted by the state of Minnesota and asked to review the facts of this case to help determine how he died.

He is being paid $1,200 per day to testify at the trial. His testimony is ongoing.

11:19 a.m. ET, April 12, 2021

A cardiologist is now testifying

Cardiologist Dr. Jonathan Rich testifies on Monday, April 12. 
Cardiologist Dr. Jonathan Rich testifies on Monday, April 12.  Pool

Cardiologist Dr. Jonathan Rich is currently on the stand.

He said he currently practices at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago but is appearing "as an expert cardiologist to provide my opinion as to how George Floyd died." 

Rich told the court he was contacted by the state of Minnesota and asked as a cardiologist to review the facts of this case to help determine how Floyd died. 

He said he has "not received compensation" for his work so far on the trial, explaining, "Every year I take on a number of professional activities without compensation. I actually think it's a duty of our field.'"

However, he specified that he is being compensated for his time at the trial, being paid "$1,200 a day while I'm missing work back at home." 

10:51 a.m. ET, April 12, 2021

NOW: Trial resumes for ex-cop charged in Floyd's death

From CNN's Eric Levenson

Former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin attends court proceedings on Monday, April 12.
Former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin attends court proceedings on Monday, April 12. Pool

Day 11 of testimony in the Derek Chauvin trial just started. 

A doctor and members of Floyd's family are still expected to testify for the prosecution.

After two weeks of testimony and 35 witnesses, Minnesota prosecutors are nearing the end of their case against the former Minneapolis police officer. The defense will then have an opportunity to call their witnesses.

Chauvin, 45, has pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter charges.

11:08 a.m. ET, April 12, 2021

Judge denies motion to sequester jury following last night's police shooting in Minneapolis suburb

Judge Peter Cahill speaks during court proceedings on Monday, April 12.
Judge Peter Cahill speaks during court proceedings on Monday, April 12. Pool

The judge denied a request from defense attorney Eric Nelson to sequester the jury following last night's shooting of a Black man by a police officer in a suburb of Minneapolis. The man died following a traffic stop.

The judge also denied a request by the defense to further voir dire (examine) the jury. The judge said he believed that yesterday's incident was a separate issue.

More on last night's shooting: The shooting happened Sunday afternoon in Brooklyn Center. The city is about 10 miles from where former police officer Derek Chauvin is on trial for the killing of another Black man, George Floyd.

Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz identified the man killed in Sunday's incident as Daunte Wright.

Protesters gathered Sunday evening and marched toward the police department, leading to what the city's mayor described as "growing civil unrest."

CNN's Keith Allen, Adrienne Broaddus, Hollie Silverman and Joe Sutton contributed reporting to this post.

10:48 a.m. ET, April 12, 2021

Judge says he expects closings next week

Judge Peter Cahill said he expects closings in the trial of former officer Derek Chauvin will begin next week.

In denying a request from the defense to sequester the jury now, Cahill said, "We'll sequester them on Monday when we anticipate doing closings."

The defense team had asked to sequester the jury following last night's shooting of a Black man in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota, about 10 miles from where the trial is happening.

Cahill had always planned to sequester the jury once deliberations began.