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Maryland AG: Work of ex-medical examiner who testified in Chauvin trial should be reviewed

Demonstrators march in Baltimore last year as they protest the police killing of George Floyd in Minnesota. File Photo by Jemal Countess/UPI
Demonstrators march in Baltimore last year as they protest the police killing of George Floyd in Minnesota. File Photo by Jemal Countess/UPI | License Photo

April 24 (UPI) -- Maryland's attorney general office said there should be a review of the work of a former medical examiner who testified for the defense in the Derek Chauvin trial this week in Minneapolis.

The trial ended Tuesday with a Minnesota jury finding Chauvin, 45, guilty of second-and third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter in the murder of George Floyd, 46. Chauvin is slated to be sentenced June 16, a Minnesota court said Friday, and Chauvin's attorneys will have 60 days to appeal, NBC News reported.

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Prosecution experts said the Black security guard and community leader in Minneapolis, who was unarmed, died of lack of oxygen as Chauvin pressed his knee on his neck for more than 9 minutes during a Memorial Day arrest over the alleged use of counterfeit $20 bill. A teenager captured footage of the scene that went viral and set off protests against police brutality and systemic racism across the country and worldwide.

Dr. David Fowler, a chief medical examiner of Maryland from 2002-2019, testified during the trial that Floyd's heart disease combined with fentanyl and methamphetamine use, exposure to vehicle exhaust and tumors near his carotid artery all played a part in his death. He classified the killing as "undetermined."

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The Maryland Attorney General's Office received a letter from former medical examiner of Washington, D.C., Roger A. Mitchell, signed by 431 doctors across the country, who said Fowler's testimony was so outlandish it called all of his prior work into question, The Baltimore Sun reported.

"Dr. Fowler's stated opinion that George Floyd's death during active police restraint should be certified with an 'undetermined' manner is outside the standard practice and conventions for investigating and certification of in-custody deaths," the letter obtained by The Baltimore Sun said. "This stated opinion raises significant concerns for his previous practice and management."

On Friday, less than 24 hours after receiving the letter, the Maryland attorney general's office said Fowler's "in custody" death reports should be reviewed.

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Fowler defended himself in a statement to The New York Times.

"I stand behind the outstanding work that all our dedicated staff at the Maryland State Medical Examiner's Office performed during my tenure as Chief ME," the statement said.

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Demonstrators hold a sign in Los Angeles on June 14 for Breonna Taylor, a black woman who was shot by police in her home while she was sleeping. Photo by Jim Ruymen/UPI | License Photo

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