Autopsy results enough to charge officer, Brown family attorney says

(CNN) — 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.

Devolution of protests

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.

Autopsy details

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.

Dueling narratives

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.

TM & © 2014 Cable News Network, Inc., a Time Warner Company. All rights reserved.

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13 comments

  • rocky

    Mike Brown the saint just like Saint Trayvon. Expect the media to ignore his criminality and post pictures of him holding a baby.

    • Ashley

      For real? So let’s say you’re right and he was a rampant criminal. Does that make it ok for a cop to shoot some kid 6 times? where’s the trial by jury, due process, all that? His criminal past should make no difference, it was just wrong.

  • THUG LIFE

    Well….
    The issue is I believe, why?
    Why what? This guy from most witness accounts refused to obey a sworn law enforcement officers commands. This guy was also a potential offender from a STRONG ARM robbery a mile or two away. This guy was a big/tall man of which I am too, even though I don’t feel like I intimadate people with my shear size I have been told I do.
    This guy has had past exposure with other members of law enforcement in previous unrelated encounters, so one would expect that he knew what was expected of him when stopped/questioned or asked to do something by the police.
    I am tired of hearing all this nonsens of it being a racial thing. At some point in everybodies life we all feel like we are segregated according to racial ethnicity or demographics. One commentor said he was shot in the head?
    Well according to a autopsy report he was, what the commentator didnt also state is conclusively a pathologist said he was shot in the head most likely because he was falling from being shot in another part of the body.
    The bottom line is this, if you talk the talk sooner or later you will have to walk the walk.
    It’s a tough life being a criminal/thug wanna be gangster.

    • Derrick

      Two shots to the head is OVER KILL, he may or maynot have been the offender in the robbery so thats no excuse to shot him six times, police have more than just one way to stop/quesion any potential offender. The fact that he was big in size does not make it ok to kill him. I dont think this case has nothing to do with browns race but I do think it has alot to do with the character of the office; which should be investigated.

  • Eric

    Gotta love the world we live in. It’s such a joke at times. Exactly why I own a gun and train on how to use and lawfully/safely own said weapon. I will never intentionally seek out violence but make no mistake I will fight for my life and those around me if need be.

  • E. Mackey

    What if the condtions were reveresed: Black Police Officer, young white male was murdered via excessive force. Would you tolerate the action of excessive force, would you want the police officer brought to justice or just set free. We become a Monster based on the enviorment we work in. I was told that Policeman are Licensed K _ _ _ _ _ _ (you fill in the blank.
    My prayers go out to the victims family and the Family of the Police Officer. God rest his Soul,
    Is this Justice or Just _ _ _ _!

  • Ashley

    He wasn’t held accountable though was he, he was shot an excessive number of times because he could have been involved in a strong arm robbery. Accountability my behind!

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