A preliminary autopsy of the man whose death has led to protracted riots in Ferguson, Mo. contradicts at least some of the eyewitness reports detailing the last moments of his life.
Eighteen-year-old Michael Brown was shot and killed after he reportedly attacked a police officer and attempted to grab his weapon. Dorian Johnson, who was walking with Brown at the time of the interaction with police, shared his version of events with CNN last week.
“We wasn’t committing any crime,” he said, “bringing no harm to nobody, but my friend was murdered in cold blood.”
Johnson described a series of shots striking Brown before he ultimately fell to the ground and died.
“The cop gets out of his vehicle shooting,” he said, insisting Brown’s body “jerked as if he was hit from behind, and he turned around and put his hands up.”
According to the autopsy performed last weekend at the behest of Brown’s family, the man was shot multiple times; however, each of the bullets entered the front of Brown’s body.
Michael Baden, a pathologist and witness at many high-profile murder trials, performed the autopsy and found that he was hit six times. Two bullets reportedly hit Brown in the head, while four struck his right arm.
you cannot tell me that St. Louis does not have an ME capable of an autopsy.
— Melody (@prfekrdumbrella) August 18, 2014
As the New York Times reports, the bullet that likely caused Brown’s fatal injury was shot as his head was bent forward.
Some sources indicate this could bolster claims that the man was rushing toward the officer when the shooting began.
“This one here looks like his head was bent downward,” Baden explained in reference to the wound to Brown’s head. “It can be because he’s giving up, or because he’s charging forward at the officer.”
Although Johnson is among a number of eyewitnesses who claim that Brown was killed for no reason, the possibility that he ran toward the officer prior to being shot is supported by an onlooker’s recorded conversation shortly after the incident.
After the store surveillance video, eyewitness audio, & upcoming autopsy results, the rioters will have destroyed Ferguson for no reason.
— kingsjester (@kingsjester1) August 18, 2014
Also included in Baden’s report is the notable absence of gunshot residue on Brown’s body, indicating that he was not shot at especially close range.
Although he explained that his job is not to determine whether the shooting was appropriate or justified, Baden nonetheless weighed in on what he found during his examination.
“In my capacity as the forensic examiner for the New York State Police,” he said, “I would say you’re not supposed to shoot so many times. Right now there is too little information to forensically reconstruct the shooting.”
The Obama administration is becoming further involved in the matter as Attorney General Eric Holder indicated that the Department of Justice would conduct its own autopsy of Brown’s body.
Photo Credit: Twitter/The New York Times