Tensions Rise as Ferguson, Missouri Leaks New Michael Brown Autopsy Report
Leaks from the latest autopsy of Michael Brown have sparked new controversy in the nationally covered case.
Brown, an unarmed African American teenager, was shot and killed by a white police officer in Ferguson, Missouri on Aug. 9. Several eye witnesses testify that the 18-year-old was shot execution style while he was surrendering with his hands in the air. However, Officer Darren Wilson stated that Brown was the aggressor and that he reached for his weapon.
On Wednesday, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch published an article about a series of leaks from a new autopsy report, which critics say favor Officer Wilson's accusations about Brown. Meanwhile, the grand jury is currently deciding whether or not to prosecute Wilson.
The leaks from the autopsy, which was conducted by the St. Louis County Medical Examiner, support Wilson's allegation that he and Brown had some sort of confrontation while Wilson was in his police car, since Brown suffered from a gunshot wound in the hand at close range while Wilson was in his vechile. However, sources said that Wilson told investigators that Brown was shot in the hand after he reached for his firearm.
Although there is no dispute that a struggle between the two men took place at the car, there is uncertainty over the scenario that lead to Brown being shot in the hand.
However, Dr. Judy Melinek, one of the forensic experts who was quoted by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch about the autopsy report, said that the newspaper took her comments "out of context."
The paper quotes Melinek as saying that the report of Brown's autopsy "supports the fact that this guy is reaching for the gun, if he has gunpowder particulate material in the wound. If he has his hand near the gun when it goes off, he's going for the officer's gun."
However, during an interview with MSNBC's Lawrence O'Donnell, Melinek said that she believed the findings could be explained by other scenarios as well.
"I'm not saying that Brown going for the gun is the only explanation. I'm saying the officer said he was going for the gun and the right thumb wound supports that," she said, reports MSNBC. "I have limited information. It could also be consistent with other scenarios. That's the important thing. That's why the witnesses need to speak to the grand jury and the grand jury needs to hear all the unbiased testimony and compare those statements to the physical evidence."
"What happens sometimes is when you get interviewed and you have a long conversation with a journalist, they're going to take things out of context," she said, according to Talking Points Memo. "I made it very clear that we only have partial information here. We don't have the scene information. We don't have the police investigation. We don't have all the witness statements. And you can't interpret autopsy findings in a vacuum."
In response to the report, people sounded off about the controversy on Twitter.
"From the moment it was released @stltoday said @drjudymelinek told them the autopsy proved Mike Brown was going for the gun. It doesn't," tweeted @ShaunKing.
"Just read new Mike Brown autopsy. Beware passive language in govt docs, like 'during the struggle the officer's weapon was unholstered," tweeted TV Legal Analyst @LisaBloom.
"This autopsy confirms what we all already know: Darren Wilson killed Mike Brown, Jr. in cold blood," added @radicalhearts.
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