Michael Brown's Autopsy Reveals He Was Shot Up Close, As Darren Wilson Told Investigators
According to documents obtained by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, unarmed teenager Michael Brown was shot in the hand at close range and had THC in his system at the time of death. The findings indicate that Brown may have struggled with Officer Darren Wilson before he was fatally shot, which is consistent with Wilson's version of events.
The Post-Dispatch obtained the official autopsy and accompanying toxicology report from the St. Louis county medical examiner. Both documents were reviewed for the paper by the medical examiner, Dr. Michael Graham, who is not involved with the case. Graham told the Post-Dispatch Tuesday that the autopsy "does support that there was a significant altercation at the car.”
According to a source for the Post-Dispatch, Wilson told investigators that he and Brown struggled in the police SUV for his gun and he fired when he thought that he had control of the gun, instead hitting the teen's hand.
Graham's examination of the autopsy indicated that although there was no stippling, or powder burns from a shot fired at close range, that sometimes very close shots "within an inch or so" there is only smoke.
A second expert, San Francisco forensic pathologist Dr. Judy Melinek, also examined the report on behalf of the Post-Dispatch. She agreed with Graham's findings, adding, "If he has his hand near the gun when it goes off, he’s going for the officer’s gun."
This week, law enforcement officials revealed to CNN and The New York Times that investigators found Brown's blood on Wilson's uniform and inside of the police vehicle. CNN legal analyst Danny Cevallos said the evidence of close-range shots could justify Wilson's use of deadly force.
That tends to support any testimony that there was some kind of scuffle in the police car. And if so, that tends to support Officer Wilson's testimony and his justification for using deadly force.
Additionally, Melinek said that based on the autopsy Brown was not running away and did not have his hands up, as detailed in many witness reports. Particularly the sixth shot, which hit the forearm and traveled into the inner arm, which, according to Melinek, means that his arms could not have been in the classic surrender position. This casts doubt on the "hands up, don't shoot" movement that has been prevalent through ongoing protests in Ferguson.
Protests have been ongoing since Brown's shooting on August 9. Brown's death is now being taken on by federal investigators to decide if civil rights laws were breached.
Images: Getty Images