The Evidence of a Struggle in Michael Brown's Death
A leaked autopsy report appears to support claims that there was a fight inside Officer Darren Wilson's car.
A new report on Michael Brown's official autopsy results appears to support Officer Darren Wilson's version of the events on August 9, according to two medical experts.
The new analysis of the autopsy results was released on Wednesday by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, which asked two independent experts who were not involved in the investigation—one of them, the St. Louis County Medical examiner—to review the available evidence.
Their report says that Brown was shot in the hand at very close range and his blood and other tissue were found both inside and outside the car. Wilson has reportedly told investigators that he fought with Brown inside his police SUV and that Brown attempted to take his gun.
St. Louis medical examiner Dr. Michael Graham told the paper that the autopsy "does support that there was a significant altercation at the car.” The other expert, forensic pathologist Judy Melinek, went even further, saying that the wound on Brown's hand "supports the fact that this guy is reaching for the gun" and adding that another shot, which went through Brown's forearm, means Brown could not have facing Wilson with his hands up when he was shot, an apparent contradiction of the now iconic "hands up, don't shoot" posture adopted by protesters in Ferguson.
The official county autopsy and the private autopsies conducted on behalf of the families do not disagree on the number or wounds or their location. For example, both reports say that a shot to the top of Brown's head was likely fatal, but witnesses do not agree on whether he charging toward Wilson or was already on his way to the ground when he was hit. (A second story published in the Post-Dispatch on Wednesday says Wilson claims Brown kept charging him.)
This interpretation of the report seems to coincide with other reports about Wilson's statements to investigators and his testimony before the grand jury, which was recounted in The New York Times last Friday. The feeling among many observers of the case, including The Washington Post's Wesley Lowery, and The Root's Eric Guster, is that these recent leaks are meant to prime the public for an inevitable result: a grand jury investigation that ends with no charges being filed against Wilson.
Police officers are generally given the right to respond with lethal force once they feel their life is in danger, and the Times added the federal officials think a civil rights charge against Wilson is also unlikely, given the high standards needed to file one. No matter the reason, the leaks are bound to raise tension in Ferguson once again, which continues to see protests more than 70 days since Brown's shooting.