BALTIMORE — Maryland officials plan to review all in-custody death reports during the tenure of the state’s former chief medical examiner after he testified that former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin was not responsible for George Floyd’s death.
Chauvin was convicted last week of murder and manslaughter for kneeling on Floyd’s neck for more than nine minutes.
Dr. David Fowler was a key defense witness for Chauvin, telling the jury he believed Floyd had died of a sudden cardiac event due to an underlying heart disease. He also said drugs in his system and potential exposure to carbon monoxide while being held on the street were contributing factors in Floyd's death.
The Hennepin County Medical Examiner ruled Floyd's official cause of death was homicide. However, Fowler disagreed, in his opinion he said the manner of death should be listed as "undetermined."
Fowler was Maryland's chief medical examiner from 2002 to 2019.
Following his testimony during Chauvin's trial, Washington, D.C.'s former chief medical examiner, Dr. Roger Mitchell Jr. wrote an open letter calling for investigations into Fowler's medical license and a review of cases under his leadership. According to NPR, more than 450 physicians signed Mitchell's letter.
The announcement of the investigation was made by the offices of Attorney General Brian Frosh and Gov. Larry Hogan.
Fowler told The Baltimore Sun he was not aware of any review and defended the work of his office. He said there was a large team of forensic pathologists who ‘always did tremendous work.’ He declined to discuss his testimony in the Chauvin trial with the paper.