New details raise questions about eyewitness accounts that Brown had his hands up in the air when Wilson shot him.
An autopsy of Michael Brown reveals that he was shot at close range by officer Darren Wilson, reports USA Today.
According to the county’s forensic report, leaked to The St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Brown, the 18-year-old unarmed Black teen killed in Ferguson, MO., was shot in the hand at close range on August 9, raising questions about eyewitness accounts that he had his hands up in the air in surrender when Wilson shot him. The report also found marijuana in Brown’s system.
His skin was also found on the outside door of the patrol car. These new details may support Officer Darren Wilson’s story that he and Brown fought in his patrol car before he fired his gun. It also disputes the earlier autopsy results conducted by private experts hired by Brown’s family this summer. That report concluded that Brown was shot from at least a foot away, and as far as 30 feet away.
Wilson told investigators that he and Brown struggled in the police car over his gun. Wilson said he then wrestled the gun away from Brown and when he had control he fired, but Brown’s hand was blocking the barrel. Wilson also said that Brown ran away after being hit in the hand, but then turned back and charged at Wilson. The officer then fired six times at Brown, including twice in the head.
Dorian Johnson, who was walking with Brown at the time of the shooting, recalled a different version of events. Johnson said he and Brown were walking home when Wilson pulled up in his patrol car and told them to get off the sidewalk. While still in his car, the officer grabbed Brown by the neck, but Brown tried to pull away. Johnson said Wilson fired at Brown while he was running away. Brown then turned around with his hands in the air and Wilson fired again.
Judy Melinek, a forensic pathologist cited by The St. Louis Post-Dispatch, says the results indicate that Brown was “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,” she added.
Civil unrest has continued in Ferguson in the weeks following the shooting, and continue on under a movement called “Ferguson October.” State officials expressed concern that if Wilson isn’t indicted by a grand jury, tension in the city may rise.
“When you have this level of energy and you have what has happened over the last 73 days, you can rest well assured that we are focused and concerned about what could be the most problematic of scenarios,” said Missouri Governor Jay Nixon at a press conference.
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