The official autopsy on Michael Brown, an 18-year-old unarmed black teenager whose death sparked national protests in Ferguson, Missouri and beyond, shows he was shot in the hand at close range.
The accompanying toxicology report reveals that Brown had a trace of marijuana in his system.
The reports, which were prepared by St. Louis medical examiner Dr. Michael Graham, provide the most detailed description of Brown’s injuries from the confrontation on Aug. 9 with Officer Darren Wilson, who fatally shot the African-American teen. The results, together with a separate autopsy conducted in August, attempt to piece together a narrative of the circumstances leading to Brown’s death, a storyline that shifts at crucial junctures depending on which side interprets the findings.
The autopsy leaked on Wednesday largely aligns with a separate report conducted at the behest of Brown’s family after the killing but for the distance at which they say Brown was shot. The family’s autopsy released on Aug. 18 by nationally renowned forensic pathologist Dr. Michael Baden, indicated that it appeared Brown’s wounds were suffered from some distance, from one foot to 30 feet away.
The first autopsy indicates that Brown was shot at least six times. The county autopsy released today includes nine wounds, six entry wounds and three exit wounds.
The latest autopsy also comes with a narrative of events that preceded the shooting, which aligns with Officer Wilson’s version of the story. According to this version of events, Wilson confronted Michael Brown and a companion in the middle of the street in Ferguson. When Wilson order the two out of the road, Brown became belligerent. Wilson then attempted to get out of the vehicle, and Brown pushed the door shut and began to struggle with him, according to the autopsy.
Wilson then upholstered his weapon and “the weapon was discharged during the struggle.” According to the narrative, Brown fled at that point, Wilson gave chase and at some point, Brown turned around and charged at Wilson, causing him to fire off several shots.
“It’s not surprising at all, to the family, that this St. Louis medical examiner who works with the police every day would say any of this,” Ben Crump, an attorney for Brown’s family told MSNBC. “[Witness] Dorian Johnson told the family and everyone from day one that there was a brief struggle at the car, that the police officer tried to grab Michael and pull him into the car and that Michael tried to pull away. He says that there were two shots fired. He didn’t know whether or not Michael was hit or not but they both ran.”
“The question that the autopsy does not address and everyone has been asking from day one, is why did the police officer keep shooting as the threat was eliminated, as they were running away,” Crump said.
The results do not give a clear explanation for whether or not Brown had his hands up at the time he was fatally shot. The narrative detailed in the autopsy, is based on Wilson’s recollection of the events.
A grand jury has been hearing evidence since Aug. 20. It has been given until January to determine whether or not Wilson should be charged.
There are a lot of questions that still need to be answered. Black lives matter.
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