Dr. David Fowler, a forensic pathologist who took the stand for the defense of Derek Chauvin, is being sued by the family of another Black man who died while being subdued by police.
Dr. Fowler testified Wednesday that George Floyd’s death was caused by his preexisting heart condition, use of fentanyl and meth, and carbon monoxide he inhaled from a nearby police cruiser.
While the medical examiner in George Floyd’s case has called his death a homicide, Dr. Fowler says there were so many contributing factors that the manner of death should be “undetermined.”
Fowler’s theory mirrors the case of Anton Black’s death in 2018, a 19-year-old who died after being restrained and pinned to the ground by police.
A medical examiner’s report that Fowler signed said that Black’s death was an accident caused by his heart issues. Fowler also named bipolar disorder as a contributing factor, according to the pending lawsuit.
No officers were charged in Black’s death, and Black’s family accuses Fowler of covering for the police.
Fowler and his assistant “intentionally concealed police responsibility in causing Anton Black’s painful death, and instead falsely ruled, on behalf of the State of Maryland, that a Black teenager who died through asphyxiation at the hands of four white men resulted from ‘natural causes,’ or ‘accident’ thereby improperly insulating police officials from responsibility for Anton’s death,” the lawsuit says.
In 2018, Greensboro police officer Thomas Webster IV encountered Black while responding to a call about a man pulling a younger male down the street. Black ran away, and police chased and eventually pinned him down. Webster said he and another officer struggled with Black, trying to keep him restrained and handcuffed.
In their lawsuit, Black’s family said Webster “confronted Anton while he was in the midst of a mental health crisis.” They said Webster and other officers chased Black and eventually “forced him to the ground, pinning his slight frame beneath the collective weight of their bodies.”