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Ferguson teen Brown autopsy reveals six gunshots

A man protests the shooting death of Michael Brown, an unarmed teenager by a police officer in Ferguson, Missouri. File photo

A man protests the shooting death of Michael Brown, an unarmed teenager by a police officer in Ferguson, Missouri. File photo   | Photo Credit: Charlie Riedel

An autopsy has revealed six gunshot wounds, including two to the head in the body of Michael Brown (18), who was unarmed when he was slain on August 9 on the streets of Ferguson, Missouri, by a police officer.

The killing of Brown, an African-American, prompted a wave of protest and a spike in racial tensions following allegations that the Ferguson police used excessive force, with matters taking a turn for the worse after local law enforcement responded with the deployment of military-style weapons and a curfew.

The autopsy conducted by Michael Baden, a former Chief Medical Examiner for New York City, who was said to have flown in to Missouri on Sunday at the Brown family’s request, was the third such procedure, with two others conducted by the local and federal authorities respectively.

According to Dr. Baden, who shared a graphic visualisation of the pattern of Brown’s injuries, one bullet entered the top of his skull, “suggesting his head was bent forward when it struck him and caused a fatal injury,” and it was in all likelihood the last of bullets to hit Brown.

“It can be because he’s giving up, or because he’s charging forward at the officer,” Dr. Baden said about this particular gunshot, adding however that his information neither assigned blame nor justified the shooting.

Additionally Brown was said to have been shot four times in the right arm, Dr. Baden said, adding that all the bullets were fired into his front and that some bullets entered, exited, re-entered and re-exited Brown’s body causing multiple perforations.

Dr. Baden’s report suggested that the bullets were also probably not fired at close range given the absence of gunshot powder on Brown’s body, even though that conclusion may change once Brown’s clothing was examined.

Further, Dr. said during a press conference on Monday, “There weren’t signs of a struggle,” and abrasions on the right side of Brown’s face likely occurred after he was shot and fell to the ground.

Underscoring the sensitive nature of the events in Ferguson, where the possibility of increasing violence against protestors sparked off widespread condemnation of the police crackdown there last week, U.S. Attorney-General Eric Holder said over the weekend that in view of the “extraordinary circumstances involved,” the Obama administration was arranging for an additional autopsy to be performed by a federal medical examiner.

Despite a vast swathe of media and human rights organisations, including Amnesty International and Human Rights watch converging on Ferguson over the past week and urging, “The people of Ferguson have the right to protest peacefully the lack of accountability for Michael Brown’s shooting,” Missouri Governor Jay Nixon called in the National Guard to quell continuing violence on the streets.

U.S. President Barack Obama, who cut short his vacation in Massachusetts and returned to the White House this weekend had last week called on both sides to remain calm, asking that the authorities avoid excessive force against peaceful protestors and journalists but also that ““There is never an excuse for violence against police or for those who would use this tragedy as a cover for vandalism or looting.”

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Printable version | Aug 3, 2020 6:33:09 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/world/ferguson-teen-michael-brown-autopsy-reveals-six-gunshots/article6329417.ece

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