State officials have started investigating medical examiner David Fowler. Fowler testified at the trial of former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin. He said the officer was not responsible for George Floyd’s death.
This weekend, Newsweek reported that Maryland’s Attorney General, Brian Frosh, and Republican Gov. Larry Hogan said they would conduct an “independent review” of all cases of in-custody deaths Fowler handled.
Fowler served as the chief medical examiner in Maryland for 17 years. He stepped down in 2019. At Chauvin’s trial, he testified that they should classify Floyd’s death as “undetermined” instead of a homicide.
According to NPR, Fowler said, in his opinion, Floyd suffered “a sudden cardiac arrhythmia” because of his “atherosclerotic and hypertensive heart disease” while the police restrained him.
He and his team also said fentanyl and methamphetamine had contributed to the death of Floyd. He also stated that “exposure to vehicle exhaust” happened so carbon monoxide poisoning was possible.
Fowler also said during the trial that Chauvin, who weighs 140, used only one knee to restrain Floyd while they waited for paramedics. He said the former police officer applied less than 23% of his body weight.
With these, Fowler concluded that Chauvin couldn’t have “impacted the structures” in Floyd’s neck.
These conclusions were unacceptable to former Washington D.C. chief medical examiner Dr. Roger Mitchell Jr. Mitchell penned an open letter, urging for Fowler to go under investigation. Apart from Mitchell, hundreds of other doctors signed the letter in agreement.
The letter said that fowler’s manner of stating an opinion fell outside of “standard practice and conventions” for investigations and certifications of deaths in custody. It also said that the opinion raises concerns connected to his previous practice.
The letter also claimed that the testimony was “baseless” and that it revealed that Fowler had an “obvious bias,” raising concerns of malpractice. It also claimed that the disagreement with Fowler “is a matter of ethics.”
Responding to the letter, the office of AG Frosh released a statement. In it, the office agreed that a review by “independent experts” is called for.
Fowler claimed that he had worked with a big team of forensic pathologists that helped him come to these findings.
Last Tuesday, a jury found Chauvin guilty of second- and third-degree murder. The jury also found him guilty of second-degree manslaughter. All of these charges are connected to the death of George Floyd.