Duke University has launched an investigation after a printout of George Floyd’s toxicology report was pinned to a Black History Month display.
The flier, which insinuated that Floyd died of a drug overdose, appeared next to a photo of him on Saturday on a bulletin board on the third floor of a dormitory.
Each compound in his system was underlined with a pink pen and, at the top, was written: ‘Mix of drugs presents in difficulty breathing! Overdose? Good Man? Use of fake currency is a felony!’
When Floyd was confronted by the Minneapolis Police Department in May 2020, he was accused of having used a counterfeit $20 bill at a grocery store.
An autopsy report from the Hennepin County Medical Examiner concluded that Floyd died of cardiopulmonary arrest and neck compression.
The report noted that fentanyl was in Floyd’s system at the time, but did not attribute the drug as a cause of death.
A second autopsy report, ordered by Floyd’s family, found he died of ‘asphyxiation from sustained pressure’ after former officer Derek Chauvin knelt on his neck for eight minutes and 46 seconds.
Freshman student Matt Mohn told CNN that he first saw the printout on the billboard around noon on Saturday.
He said the flier was taken down about 30 minutes after he texted his building’s group chat and his resident advisor notified the school.
‘All of a sudden, someone comes up and is essentially sticking a thumb in the face of every black person, saying his life didn’t matter, that he wasn’t a good person, because of one $20 bill,’ Mohn said.
‘I was just really really surprised by it, that someone would put that much effort into trying to strip someone of their humanity for no reason.’
Another freshman student, Michael Manns, who lives in the dormitory where the flier was pinned, said he didn’t see it in person, but he did see a photo of it on social media.
‘I was honestly terrified. I remember shaking in that moment,’ Manns told CNN.
‘That happened right down the hall from where I sleep, from where I’m supposed to be safe.’
Manns, who is black, said he thinks whoever pinned the report to the billboard believes Floyd either deserved to die or was responsible for his death – and said such a thought makes him feel uneasy.
‘The thought that it could be someone I’ve lived with all these months really terrified me,’ he told CNN.
Duke University notified the student body about the incident on Tuesday and said the Office of Student Conduct and Community Standards (OSCCS) and the Office for Institutional Equity, along with police, are investigating.
In the post, Associate Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students John Blackshear and OSCCS Senior Associate Dean and Director Jeanna McCullers called the printout an ‘anonymous act of bias.’
School officials say the printout may be a ‘possible’ violation of policies prohibiting discrimination and harassment.
Administrators are urging anyone with information to contact the school and say that if a student is found to be responsible, he or she will face disciplinary action.
‘If Duke students are found to be responsible for this act, the Office of Conduct and Community Standards (OSCCS) will issue sanctions to the responsible student,’ they wrote.
‘This communication follows the recommendation of the Summer 2020 Hate and Bias Working Group to provide more transparency to the student community in cases of anonymous acts of bias.’
It comes after a jury was selected this week for the trial of Chauvin who is facing charges of third-degree murder and manslaughter related to Floyd’s death.
Opening statements are set to begin on Monday.