Two forensic pathologists—one famous, as far as forensic pathologists go—have amassed more than 100 pages of notes since May, and the details they contain are in some cases macabre. Susan Parson resigned her post with San Joaquin County last week; Dr. Bennet Omalu—known for his CTE-related discoveries regarding NFL players and portrayed by Will Smith in the 2015 film Concussion—followed suit on Tuesday. The cause, they say, relates to the behavior of Sheriff-Coroner Steve Moore, who Omalu alleged in an Aug. 22 memo "does whatever he feels like doing as the coroner, in total disregard of bioethics, standards of practice of medicine, and the generally accepted principles of medicine." Omalu claims Moore on several occasions asked him to change the manner of death from homicide to accident.
He writes that what he initially assumed to be an "anomaly" turned out to be "routine practice" and often related to deaths involving officers. The Sacramento Bee reports the pathologists also allege that Moore's staff dictated that the hands be severed from at least five corpses so that a forensic lab could ID them—an unnecessary move, Omalu writes, because they'd already been identified by family members or other evidence, who made the removal "a form of body mutilation, which we should not be doing." They also report on paperwork and other delays that they claim led some corpses to decompose before they could even do a full autopsy. In a statement posted to Facebook Wednesday regarding Omalu's move, Moore wrote that he takes his job "extremely seriously" and has "never" interfered with a forensic investigation. (Read more forensic pathologists stories.)