MINNEAPOLIS (WJZ) — Maryland’s former chief medical examiner was called to the stand for the defense in the Derek Chauvin murder trial on Wednesday.

Dr. David Fowler testified Wednesday in Minneapolis on behalf of the defense.

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He told the jury that George Floyd died from sudden cardiac arrhythmia during his arrest.

He also testified that he believes the amount of force applied by Chauvin’s knee on Floyd’s neck was not the cause of his death.

“In terms of the placement of officer Chauvin’s knee to Mr. Floyd, is it your opinion that Mr. Chauvin’s knee in any way impacted the structures of Mr. Floyd’s neck?” Defense Attorney Eric Nelson asked.

“No. It did not,” Dr. Fowler responded. “None of the vital structures were in the area where the knee appeared to be in the videos.”

Fowler was Maryland’s chief medical examiner up until 2019 and he’s now named in a lawsuit brought by the family of Anton Black, a 19-year-old Black teenager who died after being chased and restrained by police officers on the Eastern Shore in 2018.

Fowler ruled that his death was the result of a heart condition and that mental illness was a contributing factor.

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This lawsuit claims, though, that Dr. Fowler was complicit in creating a false narrative.

The ACLU of Maryland said, in part:

“The medical examiner’s office ruled that Anton Black’s death was not a homicide even though video showed police chase him, tase him, and pin him face down to the ground after he was handcuffed and at which point he stopped breathing.”

Ken Ravenell is one of the attorney’s representing Black’s family.

“We can’t wait to get our turn to examine him, because what he’s doing in the George Floyd case is abysmal and what he’s done in this case is absolutely abysmal,” Ravenell said.

In a statement to WJZ, Black’s family said:

“Initially our family was shocked to learn that Dr. Fowler was testifying in Chauvin’s defense, but there is an eerie and terrifying similarity between the police killings of Anton and George Floyd.”

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The Maryland attorney general is representing the medical examiner’s office and Dr. Fowler. WJZ reached out to them, they said they do not comment on pending litigation.

Rachel Menitoff