Powerful new testimony shows how George Floyd died, putting all the harmful rumors to rest
via State of Minnesota

Powerful testimony in the trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin for the death of George Floyd makes it clear that he died from a "low level of oxygen."

Chauvin's defenders have alleged Floyd's death could have been caused by heart disease or drug use. They've also claimed that Floyd must have been able to breathe because he audibly called out for his mother while Chauvin's knee was on his neck.

However, Dr. Martin Tobin, a pulmonologist who has studied the human respiratory for over 46 years, strongly refuted those claims from the stand.


"Mr. Floyd died from a low level of oxygen," Dr. Tobin, author of the 1,500-page textbook "Principles and Practice of Mechanical Ventilation," said in Hennepin County Court in downtown Minneapolis Thursday.

"It was almost to the effect as if a surgeon had gone in and removed a lung," Dr. Tobin said. "There was virtually very little opportunity for him to be able to get any air to move into the left side of his chest."

Tobin said the way police restrained Floyd meant he could not take in enough oxygen, which led his heart to stop beating. "The cause of the low level of oxygen was shallow breathing," Tobin said.

Floyd's breathing was lethally shallow due to a combination of three forces. Floyd was laid prone on the street, an officer was kneeling on his neck, and his hands were cuffed behind his back.

The doctor presented a visual during the trial that estimated Chauvin placed 91.5 pounds, or half his body weight, on Floyd's neck.

State of Minneota

The doctor presented another visual in court identifying a small detail most would dismiss as inconsequential, but stood out to the pulmonologist.

"The finger on the street, and on the right image you see his knuckle against the tire—to most people, this doesn't look significant, but to a physiologist, this is extraordinarily significant," Tobin said. "This tells you that he has used up his resources and he is now literally trying to breathe with his fingers and knuckles."

"He's using his fingers and his knuckles against the street to try to crank up the right side of his chest," Tobin said. "This is his only way to try and get air to get into the right lung."

State of Minnesota

Tobin also dismissed the notion that Floyd could breathe because he was able to cry out for his mother while Chauvin's knee was on his neck. He explained that even if someone's airway is reduced by 85%, the vocal cords can still function.

"It tells you how dangerous it is to think, 'Well, if he can speak, he is doing OK,'" Tobin said.

In the video of Floyd's arrest, Chauvin can be heard saying, "It takes a heck of a lot of oxygen to say things."

"It's a true statement, but it gives you an enormous false sense of security," Tobin said. "Certainly at the moment you're speaking you are breathing, but it doesn't tell you if you're going to be breathing five seconds later."

Tobin also dismissed claims that Floyd's death was attributed to his use of fentanyl and heart disease. The drug use would have decreased his heart rate which would have been increased by his heart condition. But neither was the case.

People who overdose on fentanyl usually have a respiratory rate of around ten. "Instead, we find that his respiratory rate is normal at 22," Tobin said.

"Basically it tells you that there isn't fentanyl on board that is affecting his respiratory centers. It's not having an effect on his respiratory centers," Tobin said.

While no one is certain what the verdict will be in the Chauvin case, today's testimony means it's likely to hinge on the former police officer's behavior, not Floyd's underlying health conditions or behavior.

Floyd's death came at a cultural flashpoint when millions of Americans came to realize how Black people have been brutalized by police in America. If the jury found that Floyd was responsible for his own death, it could have had a chilling effect on the ongoing fight against social injustice.

Dr. Tobin's testimony squarely places the onus on abuse of state power by the police, not on the behavior of a Black man.

Chauvin has been charged with second and third-degree murder, as well as second-degree manslaughter in Floyd's death. If convicted, he faces up to 65 years in prison.

Leah Menzies/TikTok

Leah Menzies had no idea her deceased mother was her boyfriend's kindergarten teacher.

When you start dating the love of your life, you want to share it with the people closest to you. Sadly, 18-year-old Leah Menzies couldn't do that. Her mother died when she was 7, so she would never have the chance to meet the young woman's boyfriend, Thomas McLeodd. But by a twist of fate, it turns out Thomas had already met Leah's mom when he was just 3 years old. Leah's mom was Thomas' kindergarten teacher.

The couple, who have been dating for seven months, made this realization during a visit to McCleodd's house. When Menzies went to meet his family for the first time, his mom (in true mom fashion) insisted on showing her a picture of him making a goofy face. When they brought out the picture, McLeodd recognized the face of his teacher as that of his girlfriend's mother.

Menzies posted about the realization moment on TikTok. "Me thinking my mum (who died when I was 7) will never meet my future boyfriend," she wrote on the video. The video shows her and McLeodd together, then flashes to the kindergarten class picture.

“He opens this album and then suddenly, he’s like, ‘Oh my God. Oh my God — over and over again,” Menzies told TODAY. “I couldn’t figure out why he was being so dramatic.”

Obviously, Menzies is taking great comfort in knowing that even though her mother is no longer here, they can still maintain a connection. I know how important it was for me to have my mom accept my partner, and there would definitely be something missing if she wasn't here to share in my joy. It's also really incredible to know that Menzies' mother had a hand in making McLeodd the person he is today, even if it was only a small part.

@speccylee

Found out through this photo in his photo album. A moment straight out of a movie 🥲

♬ iris - 🫶

“It’s incredible that that she knew him," Menzies said. "What gets me is that she was standing with my future boyfriend and she had no idea.”

Since he was only 3, McLeodd has no actual memory of Menzies' mother. But his own mother remembers her as “kind and really gentle.”

The TikTok has understandably gone viral and the comments are so sweet and positive.

"No the chills I got omggg."

"This is the cutest thing I have watched."

"It’s as if she remembered some significance about him and sent him to you. Love fate 😍✨"

In the caption of the video, she said that discovering the connection between her boyfriend and her mom was "straight out of a movie." And if you're into romantic comedies, you're definitely nodding along right now.

Menzies and McLeodd made a follow-up TikTok to address everyone's positive response to their initial video and it's just as sweet. The young couple sits together and addresses some of the questions they noticed pop up. People were confused that they kept saying McLeodd was in kindergarten but only 3 years old when he was in Menzies' mother's class. The couple is Australian and Menzies explained that it's the equivalent of American preschool.

They also clarified that although they went to high school together and kind of knew of the other's existence, they didn't really get to know each other until they started dating seven months ago. So no, they truly had no idea that her mother was his teacher. Menzies revealed that she "didn't actually know that my mum taught at kindergarten."

"I just knew she was a teacher," she explained.

She made him act out his reaction to seeing the photo, saying he was "speechless," and when she looked at the photo she started crying. McLeodd recognized her mother because of the pictures Menzies keeps in her room. Cue the "awws," because this is so cute, I'm kvelling.

Photo by Heather Mount on Unsplash

Actions speak far louder than words.

It never fails. After a tragic mass shooting, social media is filled with posts offering thoughts and prayers. Politicians give long-winded speeches on the chamber floor or at press conferences asking Americans to do the thing they’ve been repeatedly trained to do after tragedy: offer heartfelt thoughts and prayers. When no real solution or plan of action is put forth to stop these senseless incidents from occurring so frequently in a country that considers itself a world leader, one has to wonder when we will be honest with ourselves about that very intangible automatic phrase.

Comedian Anthony Jeselnik brilliantly summed up what "thoughts and prayers" truly mean. In a 1.5-minute clip, Jeselnik talks about victims' priorities being that of survival and not wondering if they’re trending at that moment. The crowd laughs as he mimics the actions of well-meaning social media users offering thoughts and prayers after another mass shooting. He goes on to explain how the act of performatively offering thoughts and prayers to victims and their families really pulls the focus onto the author of the social media post and away from the event. In the short clip he expertly expresses how being performative on social media doesn’t typically equate to action that will help victims or enact long-term change.

Of course, this isn’t to say that thoughts and prayers aren’t welcomed or shouldn’t be shared. According to Rabbi Jack Moline "prayer without action is just noise." In a world where mass shootings are so common that a video clip from 2015 is still relevant, it's clear that more than thoughts and prayers are needed. It's important to examine what you’re doing outside of offering thoughts and prayers on social media. In another several years, hopefully this video clip won’t be as relevant, but at this rate it’s hard to see it any differently.

Moricz was banned from speaking up about LGBTQ topics. He found a brilliant workaround.

Senior class president Zander Moricz was given a fair warning: If he used his graduation speech to criticize the “Don’t Say Gay” law, then his microphone would be shut off immediately.

Moricz had been receiving a lot of attention for his LGBTQ activism prior to the ceremony. Moricz, an openly gay student at Pine View School for the Gifted in Florida, also organized student walkouts in protest and is the youngest public plaintiff in the state suing over the law formally known as the Parental Rights in Education law, which prohibits the discussion of sexual orientation or gender identity in grades K-3.

Though well beyond third grade, Moricz nevertheless was also banned from speaking up about the law, gender or sexuality. The 18-year-old tweeted, “I am the first openly-gay Class President in my school’s history–this censorship seems to show that they want me to be the last.”

However, during his speech, Moricz still delivered a powerful message about identity. Even if he did have to use a clever metaphor to do it.

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