U.S. Justice Department Orders New Autopsy in Shooting Death of Michael Brown

A demonstrator carries a picture of Michael Brown. (Photo: Scott Olson, Getty Images)
A demonstrator carries a picture of Michael Brown.
(Photo: Scott Olson, Getty Images)

Attorney General Eric Holder on Sunday ordered a separate federal autopsy of a Missouri teen whose fatal shooting by a police officer prompted more than a week of racially charged demonstrations and clashes with local authorities.

Citing the “extraordinary” nature of the case, Justice Department spokesman Brian Fallon said Holder directed the action at the request of the family of Michael Brown, an 18-year-old black man shot by white Ferguson, Mo., Officer Darren Wilson.

“This independent examination will take place as soon as possible,” Fallon said in written statement. “Even after it is complete, Justice Department officials still plan to take the state-performed autopsy into account in the course of their separate investigation.”

The St. Louis County Medical Examiner’s autopsy concluded that Brown died of gunshot wounds, but other details have not been released.

Brown was unarmed when Wilson shot him. Witnesses in the area say Brown had raised his hands to surrender when he was shot. Police have not confirmed that information.

Holder’s action underscores the chasm between local authorities, who are leading the investigation into Brown’s death, and many in the predominately black community who have expressed little confidence in the local investigation.

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Source: USA Today | Kevin Johnson

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