Family Attorney: Autopsy Results Enough to Charge Officer in Michael Brown’s Death

FERGUSON, Missouri — An independent autopsy into the death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, provides “ample” evidence to support the arrest of the police officer who shot him, family attorney Daryl Parks said Monday at a news conference.

Parks was particularly concerned about gunshots that medical examiners hired by the family indicate came from behind and above.

“Why would he be shot in the very top of his head, a 6-foot-4 man?” Parks asked. “Makes no sense.”

The autopsy could support witnesses’ suggestions that Brown was holding his hands up in the air, said Shawn Purcell, who assisted in the autopsy. But other scenarios are possible, said Dr. Michael Baden, who supervised the inquiry.

But nothing in the autopsy suggested that Brown had engaged in a struggle, Baden said. Police have said that Brown reached into Officer Darren Wilson’s car in a tussle over his gun.

The experts said they will need to examine the original autopsy conducted by officials before they can make final conclusions.

Meanwhile, things in Ferguson have gotten so unruly that Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon has called National Guard troops to the St. Louis suburb.

“Given these deliberate, coordinated and intensifying violent attacks on lives and property in Ferguson, I am directing the highly capable men and women of the Missouri National Guard … in restoring peace and order to this community,” he said in a statement.

Gunfire, tear gas and Molotov cocktails Sunday night marked some of the fiercest clashes yet between police and protesters furious about the death of an unarmed teenager.

And the tensions continued escalating after autopsy results revealed that 18-year-old Michael Brown was shot six times.

What began as peaceful protests spiraled into disarray after two civilians were shot and injured, Missouri State Highway Patrol Capt. Ron Johnson said. He said those civilians were not shot by police.

“Tonight, a Sunday that started with prayers and messages of unity, peace and justice took a very different turn after dark,” Johnson said early Monday morning.

Some protesters hurled Molotov cocktails at police, and several businesses were vandalized or looted, despite the Brown family’s call for calm.

“Based on these conditions, I had no alternative but to elevate the level of our response,” Johnson said.

Officers fired tear gas into a crowd of hundreds of protesters, including children, who were marching toward a police command post despite an impending midnight curfew.

But protester Lisha Williams challenged the notion that protesters provoked officers.

“That is a lie. It was no fight, it was no shots fired,” she told CNN late Sunday night. “All we did was march to the command center to fall to our knees and say, ‘Don’t shoot.’ And they started shooting.”

The clashes kept escalating, with St. Charles County sheriff’s officials saying shots were fired in their direction.

At one point, employees at a McDonald’s restaurant locked themselves in a storage room after the store was overrun, Johnson said.

Video from CNN affiliate KSDK showed children among the protesters chanting, “Hands up, don’t shoot.”

St. Louis County police said most of the crowds had dispersed after the curfew went into effect at midnight. The curfew was scheduled to end at 5 a.m. (6 a.m. ET).

But the anxiety remains. Children can’t even go to school Monday.

“Information we received from officials on the scene late Sunday evening has contributed to concerns we have about children walking to school or waiting for buses on streets impacted by this activity,” the Ferguson-Florissant School District said on its Facebook page.

Brown, an unarmed black teenager, was shot dead by a white police officer on August 9. He was shot at least six times, including twice in the head, according to the preliminary results of an autopsy that his family requested.

Family attorney Anthony Gray said the independent autopsy conducted Sunday found that Brown was shot twice in the head and four times in the right arm — all to the front of his body.

Last week, the St. Louis County Police Department said an original autopsy found that the teen died of gunshot wounds. But the department wouldn’t say how many times he was shot or give any other details.

According to the preliminary results of the family autopsy, the bullets that struck Brown were not fired from close range, as indicated by the absence of gunpowder residue on his body.

One of the bullets shattered his right eye, traveled through his face, exited his jaw and re-entered his collarbone, according to the autopsy.

The last two shots were probably the ones to his head, attorney Gray said. One entered the top of his Brown’s skull, suggesting his head was bent forward when he was struck.

The independent autopsy was conducted by high-profile pathologist Michael Baden, who testified in the O.J. Simpson, Phil Spector and Drew Peterson murder trials.

Accounts of exactly what happened when Wilson stopped Brown while the teen was walking down a street vary widely.

Witnesses said they saw a scuffle between the officer and Brown at the police car before the young man was shot.

Several witnesses said Brown raised his hands and was not attacking the officer.

Piaget Crenshaw said she was sitting in her home when she witnessed the shooting. She captured video of the aftermath, including images of Brown’s body lying in the middle of the street.

“From it all initially happening, I knew this was not right,” she told CNN’s “New Day” on Monday.

“I knew the police shouldn’t even have been chasing this young boy and firing at the same time. The fact that he got shot in the face, it was something that clicked in me, like no, somebody else needs to see this. This isn’t right. I’ve got to record.”

Crenshaw said Brown was running away from police and then turned around. She said that was when Brown was shot.

But police gave a different narrative, saying Brown struggled with the officer and reached for his weapon.

Though the officer has stayed out of the public spotlight, more than 22,000 people have endorsed the “I Support Officer Wilson” Facebook page.

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder has approved another autopsy on Brown’s body, the Justice Department said. That autopsy will be conducted by a federal medical examiner.

7 comments

  • Sue

    I understand being upset and angry about this. But, I think the ‘protestors’ are just hurting their own credibility by marching on police and looting. How, exactly, does stealing everything out of a store show unity for this kid?? Sounds like SOME of the people in Ferguson are just looking for an excuse to get a little something for nothing! Certainly tarnishes the Brown families plight.

  • Jim

    I think the protesters have made a difference. I think they’ve made an impression on actuaries. And actuaries have a big influence on business people. I think Ferguson will be feeling the difference for decades to come

  • Earl

    The vigilantes have damaged places where they shop, probably where some of them worked. Who would want to re-start the business there? The citizens may have to travel further to obtain the goods and services they want.

  • Yola

    From what I’ve read, Brown was not innocent. If you charge at police, you will be stopped. Furthermore, even IF the police were at fault, the violence, mayhem, and outright stupidity displayed by rioters and looters is uncalled for, does nothing to convince anyone that they are right, and probably even reinforces stereotypes. Who do they think they are helping by this? Not themselves, that’s for certain.

  • Lynda Willis

    Why did the police officer stop Michael Brown in the first place? So what if he was walking on the road .. big deal! Just for that he is shot dead! Certainly a racist scenario … why hasn’t the police officer been charged? He shot someone 6 times. Totally disgusting. Glad I live in Australia.

  • Dan

    I don’t think the shooting was racist but the response sure is. Just ask yourself this, why is there one witness, his friend, why is this the only witness? Because the others don’t want anyone to know they are witness’ because they won’t feel safe if they tell the real story, is my guess. It will come out, there will be an investigation. Go home already. White guys get shot too., some 75 times by the cops. 10 minutes later the police investigate themselves and no problems at all. But not in that neighborhood. I’m surprised the news doesn’t have little leage pictures of this guy too.

  • Tyler

    I like how they boast that Wilson has garnered the support of over 22,000 people. That’s a drop in a bucket compared to the millions that support justice Michael Brown. Ferguson police couldn’t have handled this any worse. Just imagine the public outcry if this cop isn’t convicted of murder. We got it wrong with Zimmerman and cannot afford to get it wrong again.

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