Dr. Baden: Michael Brown Autopsy Contradicts Witnesses, But Points to 'Excessive' Force
A private autopsy on Michael Brown showed that he was struck six times by a Ferguson, Missouri, police officer's bullets. The death of 18-year-old Brown, who was not armed, has sparked fierce protests over the past week, forcing Gov. Jay Nixon to deploy the National Guard to the streets of Ferguson after violence got even worse on Sunday night.
The autopsy also showed that two of the bullets struck Brown in the head and that the bullets entered his body from the front. Some witnesses had said over the past week that the officer, identified as Darren Wilson, shot Brown from behind.
Here's more from FoxNews.com:
The New York Times reported late Sunday that an autopsy on Michael Brown's body was carried out at the request of Michael Brown's family by Dr. Michael Baden, the former chief medical examiner for New York City.
Baden told the Times that one of the bullets struck the top of Brown's skull, suggesting that the 18-year-old's head was bent forward when he was shot. The doctor added that four of the six shots struck Brown in the right arm, and all the bullets entered from the teen's front. Only three of the bullets were recovered from Brown's body.
Baden did not have access to Brown's clothes, which may have gunpowder residue on them if the bullets were fired from close range. Baden also did not have access to X-rays that may have shown where the bullets were found, nor did he see any witness or police statements.
Brown was fatally shot by Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson on the afternoon of August 9 after a confrontation near Brown's grandmother's apartment. The shooting has prompted nationwide protests and the controversy has been augmented by the response from local authorities, who have used tear gas and smoke canisters against protesters and have been slow to release information about the deadly encounter.
Baden told The Times that his findings were not meant to resolve the controversy over the confrontation between Brown and Wilson.
"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 told the paper.
Baden's autopsy was the first of three planned in the case. Attorney General Eric Holder on Sunday ordered a federal medical examiner to perform an autopsy in addition to the one planned by state authorities. Justice Department spokesman Brian Fallon said that the order was prompted by the "extraordinary circumstances" surrounding the case and the wishes of Brown's family.
"This independent examination will take place as soon as possible," Fallon said. "Even after it is complete, Justice Department officials still plan to take the state-performed autopsy into account in the course of their investigation."
Dr. Michael Baden, who conducted the autopsy at the request of Brown's family, talked to Bill Hemmer by phone this morning. His findings do not line up with witnesses who have claimed that Wilson shot Brown from behind.
"This autopsy shows that there wasn't any gunshot wounds in his back. Some people thought they saw that. An autopsy helps organize which witness testimony is more reliable," he said.
But he said the presence of six gunshot wounds points to "excessive" force by Wilson. Baden noted that Wilson may have fired even more shots that missed Brown, explaining that the police would know the total number of shots fired.
"There is legitimate concern as to whether the shooting was overreacting. That has to be answered and we don't have all the answers," said Baden.
He added that he did not have access to an important piece of evidence: Brown's clothing. Baden explained that if gunshot residue is found on clothing, it will tell a medical examiner that the gunman was within two feet or closer.
Baden there was no gunshot residue on the body.
He stressed that the best way for local authorities to alleviate concerns from citizens after a police shooting is to be transparent and release autopsy findings quickly. St. Louis County has not released its autopsy findings.
"That takes away the concerns the community has of there being a cover-up," said Baden.
Federal authorities are going to conduct a third autopsy, which Baden said is "appropriate" in this case, but also "extremely unusual."
Watch the full interview above.
UPDATE, 11:30a ET: Professor Shawn Parcells, who conducted the autopsy with Baden, said the order of the gunshot wounds cannot be determined. But he said that their belief is that Brown was wounded prior to the fatal shot to the head, which struck the top of Brown's head.
Baden and Parcells said all of the wounds would have been survivable except the shot to the head.
One of the Brown family's attorneys stated his belief that the bullet entering through the top of the head is clear evidence that the teen had lowered his head in an effort to surrender.
Baden said right now, it's unclear which witness' account is most accurate based on the forensic evidence.
He also said there was no sign of a struggle.
"In talking about a struggle, one of the things that the attorneys have also asked for is the medical examination of the officer who was in a struggle. So signs of injury to the officer, to Michael Brown are both needed," said Baden, who also stressed that the autopsy is preliminary.
You can watch the full press conference below: