Autopsy reports on Michael Brown, the African-American teen killed during a struggle with an officer of the St. Louis County Police Department, corroborate the version of events given by the officer who shot and killed Brown.
According to the official autopsy report, which was obtained by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Brown was shot at close range, during what Darren Wilson, the officer involved in the shooting, described as “a significant altercation at the car”. The report also shows that Brown was under the influence of marijuana at the time of the incident. St. Louis medical examiner, Dr. Michael Graham confirmed that evidence from the autopsy “does support that there was a significant altercation at the car” and that Brown was just inches away from Wilson at the time he was shot and killed. Wilson, who remains on leave of absence while the shooting is investigated, has stated that he shot Brown during the altercation after Brown reached for the officer’s gun.
Graham said in his report that the examination indicated a shot traveled from the tip of Brown’s right thumb toward his wrist. Graham also noted an absence of stippling or powder burns around a wound that indicate a shot fired at relatively short range. However, said Graham, “Sometimes when it’s really close, such as within an inch or so, there is no stipple, just smoke.”
Dr. Judy Melinek, a forensic pathologist based out of San Francisco, has also reviewed the autopsy and concurs with the reports findings. (The autopsy) “supports the fact that this guy is reaching for the gun if he has gunpowder particulate material in the wound.”said Melinek, “If he has his hand near the gun when it goes off, he’s going for the officer’s gun,”
The report directly contradicts the varying stories given by some eye witnesses in the case, who claimed that Wilson shot Brown as he was running away from the scene or as he was in the midst of surrendering to Wilson, with his hands up. This can not be so, said Melinek, who stated the evidence shows quite the contrary. Melinek said that the autopsy report shows that Brown was facing Wilson when he was shot and that Brown took a fatal shot to the forehead, in addition to two shots to the chest and a shot in his upper right arm. Melinek went on to say that the wound to Brown’s head shows he was falling forward or lunging for Wilson, as the officer had indicated.
The official autopsy also confirms the findings of world renowned forensic pathologist Michael Baden, who was hired by the Brown family to perform a private autopsy. Baden’s report also concluded that the fatal shot that killed Brown came from close range.
Brown’s shooting which occurred on August 9, 2014, fueled racial tensions in Ferguson, a suburb located just outside of St. Louis, Missouri and sparked a number of often violent riots between law enforcement and members of the mostly black community.
Despite the autopsy findings, protesters are demanding the prosecution of Wilson and threatening that increased violence will occur if the officer is not charged. “It’s going to be a war because they’re not going to indict him,” said one protester to The Huffington Post. A Grand Jury is still evaluating the case to determine whether or not charges will be filed in the case.