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Derek Chauvin Trial: Medical Experts Take The Stand

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Jurors paid close attention to testimony from a world-renowned expert on breathing, Esme Murphy reports (2:44). WCCO 4 News At 6 - April 8, 2021

Video Transcript

FRANK VASCELLARO: But first, medical experts were on the stand today in the trial of Derek Chauvin.

MARTIN TOBIN: And Mr. Floyd died from a low level of oxygen.

FRANK VASCELLARO: Jurors paid close attention to testimony from a world renowned expert on breathing. Dr. Martin Tobin talked about how the force on top of George Floyd as he laid on the street obstructed his airway. Esme Murphy is outside the courthouse-- house with more on what happened today. A very compelling testimony, Esme.

ESME MURPHY: Absolutely. He was able to break it down into terms that all of us could understand. Dr. Martin Tobin testifying that in his view, George Floyd died because of a lack of oxygen that was largely due to Derek Chauvin's knee on his neck.

Dr. Martin Tobin testified George Floyd was getting less and less oxygen as he continued to say, I can't breathe.

MARTIN TOBIN: It tells you how dangerous is the concept of if you can breathe-- or if you can speak, you can breathe.

ESME MURPHY: Moments after his last words, his right leg jerks upward.

MARTIN TOBIN: When you see his leg going off, that is something we see when somebody suffers major brain lack of oxygen. You're seeing here, fatal injury to the brain from a lack of oxygen.

ESME MURPHY: Tobin discounted the defense theories that Floyd's preexisting heart condition and drug use caused his death. Saying, he determined from the videos that Floyd's respiratory rate was normal.

MARTIN TOBIN: With fentanyl, his respiratory rate should be down at around 10. Instead of that, it's right in the middle of normal.

ESME MURPHY: But the defense asked about the pills containing methamphetamine, fentanyl, and George Floyd's DNA that were found in Floyd's car and the police squad that the defense is arguing Floyd consumed at the scene.

ERIC NELSON: Is it fair to say that you would expect the peak fentanyl respiratory depression within about five minutes?

MARTIN TOBIN: Right. I mean, obviously, it would depend on how much of it was ingested.

ESME MURPHY: Tobin stuck to his testimony that drugs or Floyd's existing medical conditions did not play a part.

ERIC NELSON: Again, what was the cause such that those conditions don't matter?

MARTIN TOBIN: The cause of death is a low level of oxygen. That caused the brain damage and caused the heart to stop.

ESME MURPHY: And Doctor Tobin also testified that Derek Chauvin's knee remained on George Floyd's neck four minutes after he drew his last breath.

FRANK VASCELLARO: Esme, live at the courthouse. Thank you. CBSM, Minnesota is your source for live updates during the Derek Chauvin trial. We are streaming the entire trial with extensive team coverage and analysis. You can watch for free on any device with the CBS News app, or simply go to wcco.com.