A preliminary autopsy performed Sunday revealed that Michael Brown, the unarmed African-America teenager murdered by officer Darren Wilson, was struck at least six times, including twice in the head. The shooting has sparked mostly peaceful protests and violent suppression tactics on the part of police.
There has been much debate over whether the theft of a box of cigarillos was worthy of a death sentence (FOX News says ‘yes,’ and the KKK agrees wholeheartedly). While they later admitted that the robbery video the ‘white hoods’ of America are using to demonize the teenager, Ferguson police were sure to release the video at the same time as they revealed the name of Brown’s murderer.
As the protests have continued, the state of Missouri converted Ferguson to a ‘sundown town,’ where African-Americans are not permitted on the streets between the hours of midnight and 5 a.m. Technically, the curfew imposed applies to all, but it is clear that the intent is to impair the African-American community’s ability to exercise their First Amendment rights.
Attorney General Eric Holder, at the request of Brown’s parents, ordered a federal autopsy on the teen’s body “due to the extraordinary circumstances involved in this case.” One bullet entered the top of Brown’s skull, which suggests his head was bent forward when it struck him and caused a fatal injury, according to Dr. Michael M. Baden, the former chief medical examiner for the city of New York. It was likely the last bullet to hit him.
According to Baden, the bullets do not appear to have been shot at close range because no gunpowder was present on Brown’s body. However, Baden has not been granted access to Brown’s clothing, so he was unable to determine if any residue is present on anything the teen was wearing.
“This one here looks like his head was bent downward,” Baden said, indicating the wound at the top of Brown’s head. “It can be because he’s giving up, or because he’s charging forward at the officer.”
Brown was shot four times in the right arm. Every shot was fired into Brown’s front, according to Baden. One bullet shattered Brown’s right eye, traveled through his face, exited his jaw, and re-entered his collarbone.
The doctor said that while Brown was hit six times, only three of the bullets were recovered from his body. He has not yet seen the X-rays showing where the bullets were found, nor has he been given access to witness or police statements.
“People have been asking: How many times was he shot? This information could have been released on Day 1,” Dr. Baden said in an interview following the autopsy. “They don’t do that, even as feelings built up among the citizenry that there was a cover-up. We are hoping to alleviate that.”
Baden said there is not enough information to assign blame as of yet. “We need more information; for example, the police should be examining the automobile to see if there is gunshot residue in the police car,” he said.
The Brown family’s lawyer said that “The sheer number of bullets and the way they were scattered all over his body showed this police officer had a brazen disregard for the very people he was supposed to protect in that community,”
“We want to make sure people understand what this case is about: This case is about a police officer executing a young unarmed man in broad daylight,” he added.
“In my capacity as the forensic examiner for the New York State Police, I would say, ‘You’re not supposed to shoot so many times,’ ” said Baden, though he stressed that his examination was not to determine if the shooting was justified.
While no video exists because the city of Ferguson did not previously consider it beneficial to spend the money to install dash cameras in police vehicles, multiple witnesses said that the shooting was unjustified, though some alleged witnesses who were located days after the shooting say that Brown charged at the officer.
According to one witness, Tiffany Mitchell, Brown and Wilson wrestled through the open car window. One shot went off in the car, then he and his friend Dorian Johnson ran away from the officer. Mitchell said that Wilson then got out of his car and continued to fire at Brown.
“Michael’s body jerks as if he was hit,” Mitchell said, “and then he put his hands up.” Wilson then continued to fire at the teen.
Multiple witnesses have confirmed in numerous videos that Brown was shot while he had his hands up.
We may never know the complete truth about the events surrounding the shooting, but we know two things for certain: a teenager, who was unarmed, was gunned down by a police officer–and police have expended considerable effort to protect that officer while demonizing someone who is no longer around to speak for himself in what almost amounts to a slow-motion lynching.