Michael Brown Shooting: Private Autopsy Results Revealed
CBS NEWS - A pathologist hired by the family of an unarmed Missouri teenager fatally shot by police says a bullet wound to his arm may have happened when he put his hands up, "but we don't know."
Forensic pathologist Shawn Parcells said Monday that an preliminary results of an independent autopsy shows 18-year-old Michael Brown was shot at least six times, including twice in the head.
Parcells says a graze wound on Brown's right arm could have occurred in several ways. He says the teen may have had his back to the shooter, or he could have been facing the shooter with his hands above his head or in a defensive position.
Brown was fatally shot by a police officer Aug. 9 in Ferguson, touching off a week of rancorous protests in the St. Louis suburb.
Parcells appeared at a press conference Monday, along with fellow pathologist Dr. Michael Baden and the Brown family's three attorneys.
The two pathologists said the reason for there appearing to be more than six wounds on Brown's body is that at least two of the bullets apparently caused multiple entry wounds.
One appeared to have caused at least five wounds; it is believed to have shattered his right eye, passed through his face, left through his jaw and re-entered his collarbone. The last two shots in the head would have stopped him in his tracks and were likely the last fired.
Baden earlier told the New York Times that Brown would not have survived even if he had been taken to a hospital immediately.
They cautioned, however, that they were waiting to come to a conclusion about the exact number and nature of the wounds until they get corroborating evidence from the state and federal autopsies that are yet to be completed.
Earlier Sunday, Attorney General Eric Holder ordered a federal medical examiner to perform another autopsy on Brown, citing the "extraordinary circumstances" surrounding his death and a request by Brown's family. That will be in addition to the autopsy done by local officials and the one done by Baden.
The two likely kill shots against Brown hit him in the head, the pathologists said. One of the family's attorneys, Darryl Parks, said the fact that one of the kill shots hit him in the top of the head at a "back-to-front" trajectory means "the officer should've been arrested."
"Why would he have been shot in the very top of his head, a 6-foot-4 man? It doesn't make sense," Parks said.
Dr. Lawrence Koblinsky, a forensic science expert and a professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, told "CBS This Morning" it was important to note where exactly Brown was first shot.
"It's my opinion that seeing four shots to the right arm was an indication to me that the police officer wanted to stop him," Koblinsky said.
However, Koblinsky added later that "six shots is five shots too many," because officers should be better trained at stopping suspects without lethal force.
The Brown autopsy report also indicated there was no gunpowder residue detected on Brown, which to Koblinsky means the shooter was "at least 2 or 3 feet away."
That determination could change if there was residue on Brown's clothing, which the private pathologists did not examine.
The likely fatal blow to the top of the head of Brown told Koblinsky that "he was either falling and the shot was fired or he was charging and the shot was fired."
Police have said little about the encounter between Brown and the officer, except to say that it involved a scuffle in which the officer was injured and Brown was shot. Witnesses say the teenager had his hands in the airas the officer fired multiple rounds.
Much of the anger shown by protesters in Ferguson has been over what has been seen as a lack of openness by police about the Brown shooting.
"People have been asking: How many times was he shot? This information could have been released on Day 1," the Times quotes Baden as saying after performing the autopsy. "They don't do that, even as feelings built up among the citizenry that there was a cover-up. We are hoping to alleviate that."
Benjamin Crump, a lawyer for Brown's family, hired the pathologist duo and paid their travel expenses.
"The sheer number of bullets and the way they were scattered all over his body showed this police officer had a brazen disregard for the very people he was supposed to protect in that community," the Times quotes Crump as saying. "We want to make sure people understand what this case is about: This case is about a police officer executing a young unarmed man in broad daylight."