Much of the chaos that ensued in Ferguson after the shooting of Normandy High School Graduate, Michael Brown, on August 9 was due to a belief in the community that Brown was innocent and “doing nothing wrong” when Officer Wilson opened fire and killed him. Much of this belief came from supposed “eyewitnesses” who claimed:
- Brown was running away from the officer when he was initially fired upon.
- He had his hands raised in a “surrender” poise when Officer Wilson shot the killing blow.
- The scuffle in Wilson’s vehicle in which Brown was attempting to take Officer Wilson’s gun after assaulting Wilson never actually happened.
- Brown was an upstanding member of the community who graduated high school and planned to go to college.
New evidence from experts unrelated to the case have revealed that at least a few of the above claims are utter untruths. Experts who analyzed the official autopsy stated that it proves Officer Wilson’s rendition of the incident to be true. Dr. Michael Graham said Tuesday that the autopsy report “does support that there was a significant altercation at the car.”
While the official report notes the absence of stippling (powder burns caused by the discharge of a weapon at close range), Graham states that often “when it’s really close, such as within an inch or so, there is no stipple, just smoke.” Additionally, a supplemental microscopic exam of Brown’s thumb wound showed residue “consistent with products that are discharged from the barrel of a firearm.”
Graham also noted that traces of Brown’s skin was found on the exterior of Wilson’s driver’s side door. Graham notes, “Someone got an injury that tore off skin and left it on the car. That fits with everything else that came out. There’s blood in the car, now skin on the car, that shows something happened right there.”
Graham is not the only expert with this opinion. A forensic pathologist in San Francisco, Dr. Judy Melinek, stated that the autopsy “supports the fact that this guy is reaching for the gun” due to gunpowder particulate material being found in Brown’s hand wound. She goes on to say, “If he has his hand near the gun when it goes off, he’s going for the officer’s gun.”
Brown’s blood was also found on Wilson’s gun, which is not possible unless a close range shooting occurred. These two facts make it clear that Officer Wilson was indeed attacked within his vehicle and shot off two rounds inside his vehicle while Brown attempted to take his weapon; exactly what Officer Wilson has been claiming all along.
To further dispute the alleged claims noted here in the first paragraph, Melink states that the autopsy report clearly tells a different story than “eyewitness” accounts of Brown having his hands up in surrender and running away from the officer. She says the report shows that Brown was facing Wilson when he was shot in the head by Officer Wilson, and that the head wound shows Brown was falling forward toward Wilson after the fatal shot; not possible if he had been running away during the shot.
Another shot reveals that Brown’s palms could not have been facing up in surrender. Melinek says the trajectory of this bullet, from the back of the arm to the inner arm, means Brown’s palms could not have been facing Wilson. Unless Brown was surrendering in a very odd way with the back of his hands facing Wilson instead of “palms up”, the bullet trajectory proves that Brown was not surrendering.
All of this evidence provided by two experts, unbiased to the case as they were in no way involved in the case or its investigation, is in contradiction to the claims made by Dr. Michael M. Baden who was hired by the Brown family to conduct a private autopsy of Brown. Baden, of course, could be biased toward the client who is paying his fee.
To add insult to injury, THC was found in Brown’s blood and urine. Alfred Staubus, a consultant in forensic toxicology, stated that, “The detection of THC in the postmortem blood of Michael Brown really indicates his recent use of marijuana (within a few hours) and that he may or may not have been impaired at the time of his death.”
A third autopsy was ordered by federal officials investigating the shootings but the results of this autopsy have not yet been revealed.