New Autopsy: Michael Brown Shot in Hand at Close Range

Supports 'significant altercation' in car; Toxicology finds pot in his system
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 22, 2014 7:49 AM CDT
New Autopsy: Michael Brown Shot in Hand at Close Range
A man wears a tie decorated with a picture of Michael Brown during Brown's funeral on Aug. 25, 2014, at Friendly Temple Missionary Baptist Church in St. Louis, Mo.   (AP Photo/St. Louis Post Dispatch, Robert Cohen, Pool)

Two different autopsies, two different conclusions: The official St. Louis County autopsy of Michael Brown, killed by officer Darren Wilson on Aug. 9, indicates the Ferguson teen was shot at close range in the hand—contrasting with results of a private autopsy released Aug. 18 that said Brown had no injuries suffered up close. "[The new report] does support that there was a significant altercation at the car," St. Louis medical examiner Michael Graham tells the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. He added that the report showed Brown's tissue was found on the exterior of Wilson's squad car on the driver's side, which "fits with everything else that came out. There's blood in the car, now skin on the car, that shows something happened right there." The autopsy's toxicology report also says that Brown had marijuana in his system.

Although the private autopsy requested by Brown's family indicated no gun residue was found on Brown—meaning he probably wasn't shot at close range during a struggle—the county autopsy refutes that. Although the typical powder burns that would appear near a close-range wound weren't found, the new autopsy findings say that tests on tissue near Brown's thumb wound show matter "consistent with products that are discharged from the barrel of a firearm." Graham adds that a really close-range injury—"within an inch or so"—might not show powder burns. Another forensic pathologist from San Francisco says the autopsy "supports the fact that this guy is reaching for the gun, if he has gunpowder particulate material in the wound"; she also says that the trajectory of the sixth bullet indicated that "Brown probably was not taking a standard surrender position," as the Post-Dispatch puts it. An independent third autopsy called for by the Justice Department is still pending. (More Michael Brown stories.)

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