MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. - The family of a 19-year-old who died in police custody on the Eastern Shore three years ago, told FOX 5 DC they were shocked to learn that Maryland’s former Chief Medical Examiner, a man they are suing in the wake of their loved-one’s death, testified on Tuesday as an "expert" in the David Chauvin trial.
The family of 19-year-old Anton Black lodged a lawsuit against several Maryland officials back in December 2020. The suit also names Maryland’s former Chief Medical Examiner, Dr. David Fowler, alleging he and one other purposefully gave a false autopsy report to help protect the officers from facing reprimand in Anton’s death.
The former Chief Medical Examiner had ruled a heart condition and bipolar disorder as a contributing factors to the 19-year-old’s death – the Black family saying in a statement on Tuesday, that ruling flies in the face of what the video shows.
"Our family believes Dr. Fowler colluded with police to coverup their responsibility for killing Anton," part of a statement released on Tuesday read. The statement also said there is "an eerie and terrifying similarity between the police killings of Anton and George Floyd."
"He’s now being paid to give testimony and, so it’s not surprising that he’s now exporting these bad legal decisions, excuse me, medial decisions, from Maryland to other parts of the country. It’s a money grab," said Black family attorney, Ken Ravenell. Ravenell said at first, he was "flabbergasted" and "shocked" to learn of Fowler’s involvement.
Anton Black died in police custody back in 2018. Police were called for a possible kidnapping after Black was seen holding a younger person in a headlock. The younger person, later reportedly identified as a friend, told police Black was schizophrenic.
Black, starting to jog, runs toward his Greensboro, Maryland home. Body cam video shows one of the officers being sued, use their body to restrain and handcuff the 19-year-old. The officers could be heard on body cam video saying Black was not under arrest and that they were going to take him to a hospital.
"…holding this young man down for 6 minutes, even after he was handcuffed, in a prone position, is what killed him. So we hope that’s come through and secondly, we are hopefully that medical examiners going forward, will hopefully do their job," said Ravenell on what the family hopes will come of speaking publically on the Fowler-Chauvin connection.
"We’ll talk that over with Secretary Schrader and other folks on the team. I just don’t have any more knowledge about that situation," said Governor Larry Hogan, who told reporters on Tuesday he didn’t know Fowler personally but had ordered the former medical examiner to re-investigate Black’s death, which Hogan said he did.
The Maryland Governor said he had just learned of Fowler’s involvement in the Chauvin trial.
No officers were charged in Black’s death. Attorney Ravenell said the Maryland Attorney General would not impanel a Grand Jury due to the former Chief Medical Examiner’s report.
On whether the Attorney General Brian Frosh would call for another investigation into the case, FOX 5 was told the AG’s office had no comment due to pending litigation.