Remember that super shady former Medical Examiner who testified at convicted murderer Derek Chauvin's trial a few weeks ago? Fowler was the ex-ME for the State of Maryland from 2002 to 2019 and is not new to those of us who live in Maryland.
Fowler went against all other medical officials, stating unequivocally that he believed that George Floyd had died of a "sudden cardiac event" due to "underlying heart disease" and also blamed drugs and carbon monoxide inhalation (due to Floyd being PINNED down next to the exhaust of the police SUV for 9 minute and 29 seconds. But Fowler definitely did not blame Derek Chauvin. Nope. Nothing to do with it at all. The prone position? Nope. Knee to the neck? Not a factor.
Well, that testimony "alarmed" D.C.'s former chief medical examiner, Dr. Roger Mitchell Jr., who "wrote a letter calling for investigations into Fowler's medical license, as well as a review of the Maryland medical examiner's office under Fowler's leadership, reports NPR. So far, 458 physicians have signed on to the letter.
The letter states that Fowler's classification of Floyd's death as "undetermined" was "outside the standard conventions for investigating and certifying in-custody deaths," and believes this raises concerns about his previous determinations of the cause of death in similar cases. The letter goes on to say "our disagreement with Dr. Fowler is not a matter of opinion. Our disagreement with Dr. Fowler is a matter of ethics."
The Maryland Attorney General, Brian Frosh, agrees with the recommendation in the letter and is working to identify experts to work on a committee to conduct the independent reviews. The Washington Post reports that Governor Hogan fully supports this review. Hogan's communications director stated that Hogan "welcome(s) an independent review of reports on deaths in custody issued during David Fowler’s tenure, and agree(s) it is appropriate for the Office of the Attorney General to coordinate the work group. The governor has designated his Chief Legal Counsel to serve as a liaison for this effort.”
Fowler was involved in similar cases and is actually involved in a lawsuit related to a case which was “chillingly similar” to Floyd’s manner of death. Back in 2018, a 19-year old college student named Anton Black died after a police encounter. In that case, similar to George Floyd's, police held him in a prone position, handcuffed him and laid on top of him for over six minutes. Fowler stated that Black's death was "accidental" and stated that it was “likely that the stress of his struggle” that caused his death, with a similar mention of an underlying heart condition. No blame to the police at all. Based off of those findings, no charges were filed against the officers. But, Anton Black's family are suing and they pleased to see Fowler being investigated.
Those that signed onto the letter believe that the fact that Fowler provided a similar finding in another in-custody death shows that there may be a "pattern of bias in practice." That is a problem. Medical examiners are supposed to be completely unbiased. If it can be proven that they reviews and reports contained bias, especially if it is meant to cover up a crime, such as homicide at the hands of the police, that would be a huge issue and could lead to an avalanche of lawsuits.