FACT CHECK: Did George Floyd Die From A Fentanyl Overdose?

Christine Sellers | Fact Check Reporter

A post shared on Instagram purports George Floyd died from a lethal amount of fentanyl instead of cardiac arrest during his arrest.


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A post shared by Xaviaer DuRousseau 𓀀 (@xaviaer)

Verdict: False

Although Floyd did have fentanyl in his system when he died, his autopsy lists cardiopulmonary arrest as his cause of death. The amount of the drug in the system was reportedly non-lethal to someone his size.

Fact Check:

“Drink Champs” podcast co-host N.O.R.E apologized to Floyd’s family following comments rapper Ye, formerly known as Kanye West, made during a recent episode, CNN reported. Ye had claimed Floyd died due to an overdose rather than cardiac arrest due to a knee on his neck, the outlet reported.

The Instagram post, liked over 7,400 times, reiterates the claim that Floyd died because he consumed a lethal amount of fentanyl. “George Floyd’s death was a tragedy of drug addiction and the Left’s exploitation of Black people for political and monetary gain,” the post reads in part.

The claim is false. Floyd’s autopsy, released by the Hennepin County Medical Examiner’s Office, lists his cause of death as “cardiopulmonary arrest complicating law enforcement subdual, restraint, and neck compression.” Under Final Diagnoses, pathologist Andrew Baker concluded that Floyd “became unresponsive while being restrained by law enforcement officers” and could not be resuscitated despite receiving emergency care.

The autopsy also indicates Floyd had 11 nanograms per milliliter of fentanyl in his system, but the amount is not considered enough to be fatal, according to USA Today. (RELATED: No, Maxine Waters Did Not Introduce A Bill To Rename Memorial Day ‘George Floyd Day’)

Derek Chauvin, the Minnesota police officer responsible for Floyd’s death, was sentenced to over 20 years in prison in July 2022 for the death and another incident involving a minor being deprived of their constitutional rights, according to a press release from the U.S. Department of Justice.

There are no credible news reports suggesting the autopsy’s findings had been overruled or had changed to claim fentanyl had been the sole cause of death. Likewise, the claim is not mentioned on the Minneapolis Police Department’s verified social media pages.

Check Your Fact contacted the Hennepin County Medical Examiner’s Office for comment, but they said they could not speak about the matter. The office then directed Check Your Fact to a copy of Floyd’s autopsy via their website.

This is not the first time Floyd’s death has been the subject of a false claim. Check Your Fact previously debunked claims that Chauvin was a crisis actor using a fake name.

Christine Sellers

Fact Check Reporter