Maryland audit to focus on 100 in-custody police deaths

Oct 19, 2022, 3:37 PM | Updated: 3:45 pm

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) — Maryland will review about 100 autopsies of people who died in police custody involving physical restraint because of concerns about the state’s former medical examiner’s testimony in the death of George Floyd, the state’s attorney general said Wednesday.

A team of forensic pathologists and behavioral scientists narrowed down the scope of the in-depth review after looking at about 1,300 autopsies conducted during the tenure of Dr. David Fowler, who testified for the defense at the 2021 murder trial of former Minneapolis police Officer Derek Chauvin.

After Chauvin’s conviction in Floyd’s killing, medical experts raised concerns about the work of the Office of Chief Medical Examiner in Maryland. Four-hundred such experts signed a letter to Attorney General Brian Frosh asserting that Fowler’s testimony deviated from standard medical practice in assessing cause of death and classifying the manner of Floyd’s death as “undetermined” rather than “homicide.”

The letter called for an investigation to determine whether the office’s in-custody death determinations under Fowler’s leadership exhibited racial or pro-law enforcement bias or failed to follow appropriate practices and protocols, Frosh’s office said Wednesday in its announcement.

Fowler was Maryland’s chief medical examiner from 2002 to 2019.

Fowler wrote in an email to The Washington Post that he has not read the panel’s recommendations, but “I look forward to doing so.” He told the newspaper he has offered his full cooperation in the audit.

“As I have said since this effort was announced in May of 2021, I am proud of my seventeen years of service as Maryland’s Chief Medical Examiner, and I am confident that any fair review will confirm that the Office met or exceeded all applicable professional standards,” he said in an email.

Frosh announced in May 2021 that his office would conduct an independent audit. A team of seven then developed the shape, scope, and methodology of the audit, including the manner in which cases for review should be selected.

The team’s report details key factors and questions to be addressed by the audit. They include whether the cases were adequately investigated and whether medical examiner’s operations and investigative protocols were consistent with best practices. They also include what role restraint played in each death and whether the medical examiner’s determinations were correct.

The report proposes conducting the audit in two phases. In the first phase, reviewers will be given access to case files and asked to give their own initial opinion about each case. In the second phase, the reviewers will meet to discuss each case and attempt to reach a consensus on key questions, such as the quality of the investigation and case workup by the medical examiner’s office, and its conclusions regarding cause and manner of death.

The attorney general’s office said it will recruit additional independent forensic pathologists and other experts to perform a detailed review of the medical examiner’s files.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., talks with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer of N.Y., before Preside...
Associated Press

In new role, Sanders demands answers from Starbucks’ Schultz

WASHINGTON (AP) — As Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders settles into his new role as chairman of a committee that oversees health and labor issues, he says some corporations “should be nervous.” And the longtime liberal crusader’s first target is Howard Schultz, the interim CEO of Starbucks who has aggressively fought his workers’ efforts to unionize. […]
11 hours ago
In this photo provided by Chad Fish, a large balloon drifts above the Atlantic Ocean, just off the ...
Associated Press

Not just balloons: How US sees China spying as major worry

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Chinese balloon that traversed the United States before being shot down last weekend captivated public attention and drew sharp denunciations as a brazen spying effort. But if the vehicle for espionage seemed novel, the concept was anything but. In ways that are far less public, but often more worrisome, U.S. officials […]
11 hours ago
FILE - Queen Margrethe attends the Danish Parliament's celebration of her 50th Regent's Anniversary...
Associated Press

Danish queen to undergo ‘major back surgery’

COPENHAGEN, Denmark (AP) — Denmark’s Queen Margrethe II, whose half-century reign makes her Europe’s longest-serving monarch, will undergo “major back surgery” later this month, the royal palace said Wednesday. The 82-year-monarch will be hospitalized afterward and undergo “a longer rehabilitation process,” the royal household said in a statement. “During a long period, Her Majesty has […]
11 hours ago
Associated Press

Blaze at US drone plant in Latvia; arson not suspected

HELSINKI (AP) — Firefighters worked for a second day Wednesday to fully extinguish a blaze at a U.S. company’s drone plant in Latvia, as police said no indications of sabotage have been found so far. Latvia’s State Fire and Rescue Service was alerted Tuesday afternoon that a fire had broken out at Edge Autonomy’s drone […]
11 hours ago
FILE - People walk past a Microsoft office in New York on Nov. 10, 2016.  (AP Photo/Swayne B. Hall,...
Associated Press

Microsoft’s Activision deal hurts gamers, UK watchdog says

LONDON (AP) — Microsoft’s stalled $68.7 billion deal to buy video game company Activision Blizzard has hit a fresh hurdle in the United Kingdom, where the antitrust watchdog said Wednesday that it will stifle competition and hurt gamers. Britain’s Competition and Markets Authority said its in-depth investigation found that the deal could strengthen Microsoft’s position […]
11 hours ago
FILE - The Container ship Cam Cgm Arctic (MT) is moored at Maersk APM Terminals Pacific, Pier 400, ...
Associated Press

Shipper Maersk reports most profitable year, warns of drop

COPENHAGEN, Denmark (AP) — The world’s biggest shipper, Denmark’s A.P. Moeller-Maersk, said Wednesday that 2022 was its most profitable year in “the history of the company” but warned that a plunge in container volumes and freight rates would lead to a drop in earnings this year. Full-year revenue increased by 32%, to $81.5 billion from […]
11 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

(Pexels Photo)...

Sports gambling can be fun for adults, but it’s a dangerous game for children

While adults may find that sports gambling is a way to enhance the experience with more than just fandom on the line, it can be a dangerous proposition if children get involved in the activity.
Fiesta Bowl Foundation

Celebrate 50 years of Vrbo Fiesta Bowl Parade magic!

Since its first production in the early 1970s, the Vrbo Fiesta Bowl Parade presented by Lerner & Rowe has been a staple of Valley traditions, bringing family fun and excitement to downtown Phoenix.
Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Prep the plumbing in your home just in time for the holidays

With the holidays approaching, it's important to know when your home is in need of heating and plumbing updates before more guests start to come around.
Maryland audit to focus on 100 in-custody police deaths