A renowned forensic pathologist who conducted a second autopsy on the body of 18-year-old Michael Brown said the teen was shot multiple times with “survivable” wounds but was felled by a shot to the top of the head.
“There weren’t signs of a struggle. In talking about a struggle, one of the things that the attorneys have also asked for is the medical examination of the officer who was in a struggle. So signs of injury to the officer, to Michael Brown, are both needed,” Dr. Michael Baden said a press conference with the attorneys for the Brown family.
Baden, who was chief medical examiner in New York City for 25 years, conducted the autopsy with the assistance of Shawn Parcells, a professor and pathologist assistant based in Kansas.
Baden said he agreed to do the autopsy before Attorney General Eric Holder said the federal government would do its own autopsy, a move he acknowledged was rare. “The only time the president got involved I remember was Charles Manson did his thing and you guys weren’t born in those times and he was very upset by it,” he said. “But not in a civil rights way.”
“Dr. Baden and I concluded that he was shot at least six times. We’ve got one to the very top of the head, the apex. We’ve got one that entered just above the right eyebrow. We’ve got one that entered the top part of the right arm. We’ve got a graze wound, a superficial graze wound, to the middle part of the right arm. We’ve got a wound that entered the medial aspect of the right arm, and we’ve got a deep graze wound that produced a laceration to the palm of the right hand,” Parcells said while pointing out the location of the wounds on a diagram.
Parcells said one of the arm wounds, a graze on the side, was “consistent” with witness statements that Brown was walking away before he turned toward the officer after the first shots. Baden said there was no gunpowder residue on the body, but he didn’t get to examine the clothes.
Baden said the wounds “could be consistent with his going forward or going backward. But they’re from the front, and if he was shot going forward, he would collapse right away.”
He stressed that they need to see the x-rays that were taken before the bullets were removed, which “should be available at some time.”
“The autopsy itself counted as consistent with police or witnesses. There are many different witness testimonies. Many of them seem to line up in one direction, some in another direction. Right now, till we get more information, till we get from a forensic science point of view, can’t distinguish — can’t make a definite judgment,” Baden said.
They wouldn’t speculate on the order of the gunshot wounds, but had an idea. “Dr. Baden and I do feel that, because of the two gunshot wounds to the head, indicating that Mr. Brown was bending over as they were coming down, that those two shots were most likely the last two to occur to him,” Parcells said.
Baden stressed that he didn’t have access to toxicology samples. An anonymous source told the Washington Post that the county’s autopsy will reveal that Brown had marijuana in his system, but didn’t elaborate how much.