A preliminary autopsy has found that Michael Brown, the unarmed black teen killed on August 9 by a white police officer in Ferguson, Missouri, was shot at least six times, including twice in the head, according to The New York Times.
The autopsy report, which the newspaper reviewed, found that one of the bullets had entered the top of Brown’s skull, suggesting his head was bent forward when he was struck by the fatal shot. The autopsy was performed by Dr. Michael M. Baden, 80, the former New York City chief medical examiner, who flew to Missouri on Sunday at the behest of the Brown family.
In addition to the two shots to his head, including one through the eye, Brown was struck four times in his right arm. All the shots entered the front of Brown’s body, the autopsy found, which contradicts some witness accounts that suggested Brown had been shot from behind while fleeing police. However, the wounds may be consistent with witness claims that Brown had his hands up when he was fired on.
Benjamin Crump, the attorney representing the Brown family, sees the results as a validation of eyewitness claims. “This autopsy … seems to confirm our worst fears, that the witnesses were telling the truth,” he told msnbc.
There was reportedly no gunpowder on his body, which suggests that bullets weren’t fired at close range. But Dr. Baden did not have access to Brown’s clothes, which may have contained some gunpowder residue.
“People have been asking: How many times was he shot? This information could have been released on Day 1,” Dr. Baden told the Times after performing the procedure. “They don’t do that, even as feelings built up among the citizenry that there was a cover-up. We are hoping to alleviate that.”
Dr. Baden is no stranger to high profile autopsies. He reviewed the autopsies of both President John F. Kennedy and Dr. Martin Luther King, and has reportedly performed over 20,000 in his medical career.
This autopsy will not be the final word on Brown’s death. Ferguson authorities have conducted their own autopsy, and the Justice Department announced on Sunday that Attorney General Eric Holder has authorized a separate autopsy to be conducted by a federal medical examiner.
Michael Brown’s family announced just after midnight on Monday morning that they will hold a press conference at 10:30 a.m. EST to weigh in on these forensic findings.
“We’re just as frustrated as the people in Ferguson and all over the country are,” Crump told msnbc. “They see it’s a different situation when our children are lying dead on the street and so that’s what people are waiting to see – if the system is going to work fairly for us and our community.”