Defense expert in Derek Chauvin trial faces Maryland lawsuit

BALTIMORE (AP) — The former chief medical examiner for Maryland who testified on behalf of the officer accused of killing George Floyd is a defendant in a federal lawsuit over the death of a man who died under circumstances similar to Floyd.

Dr. David Fowler was chief medical examiner in Maryland for 17 years before retiring in 2019.

He served as a key defense witness for Officer Derek Chauvin. Fowler testified that he would have ruled Floyd’s cause of death as “undetermined” rather than homicide. He also testified that Floyd’s heart disease contributed to his death, contradicting prosecution experts who cited asphyxiation as a result of Chauvin’s knee being pressed into Floyd’s neck for more than nine minutes.

The case bears similarities to that of 19-year-old Anton Black, who died in 2018 while in police custody on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. A federal lawsuit filed in Baltimore alleges that officers with the Greensboro police department and nearby agencies kept their weight on Black for several minutes even after he was prone and handcuffed.

The lawsuit alleges that the officers’ actions caused Black to die of asphyxiation. It alleges that Fowler and the medical examiner who conducted Black’s autopsy intentionally covered up for police by ignoring evidence of asphyxiation and playing up other factors that supported the police narrative.

The Maryland Attorney General’s Office is representing Fowler and filed a motion earlier this month seeking to have the lawsuit against him dismissed. A hearing has not yet been scheduled.

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