In keeping with the theme that the grand jury hearing evidence in the question whether or not to charge Officer Darren Wilson with any crime for the August 9 shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri is about done and officials are looking to soften up the protesters before no indictment is reached, last night the official autopsy report and results of the toxicology screen were leaked to the media. Â From StLToday.com, the St. Louis Post-Disgrace’s website:
The official autopsy on Michael Brown shows that he was shot in the hand at close range, according to an analysis of the findings by two experts not involved directly in the case.
The accompanying toxicology report shows he had been using marijuana.
Those documents, prepared by the St. Louis County medical examiner and obtained by the Post-Dispatch, provide the most detailed description to date of the wounds Brown sustained in a confrontation Aug. 9 with Ferguson police Officer Darren Wilson.
Of course, the Post-Disgrace couldn’t leave it there regardless of the evidence leaked to the New York Times last week. Â (They wouldn’t be jealous would they? Â Nah.) Â They asked around for a second opinion, and a third.
St. Louis medical examiner, Dr. Michael Graham, not a part of the official investigation as he works for the city, not the county, reviewed the report for the Post-Dispatch. He said that the report â€œdoes support that there was a significant altercation at the car.â€ Â Graham also the evidence demonstrates that a round traveled from “the tip of Brownâ€™s right thumb toward his wrist.” Â The official autopsy document discusses “an absence of stippling, powder burns around a wound that indicate a shot fired at relatively short range.” Â Graham said, â€œSometimes when itâ€™s really close, such as within an inch or so, there is no stipple, just smoke.â€ Â Â According to StLToday, “the report on a supplemental microscopic exam of tissue from the thumb wound showed foreign matter ‘consistent with products that are discharged from the barrel of a firearm.'”
Dr. Judy Melinek, a forensic pathologist in San Francisco, said the autopsy â€œsupports the fact that this guy is reaching for the gun, if he has gunpowder particulate material in the wound.â€ She added, â€œIf he has his hand near the gun when it goes off, heâ€™s going for the officerâ€™s gun.â€…. Â She also said the autopsy did not support witnesses who have claimed Brown was shot while running away from Wilson, or with his hands up.
Also according to Dr. Melinek:
A sixth shot that hit the forearm traveled from the back of the arm to the inner arm, which means Brownâ€™s palms could not have been facing Wilson, as some witnesses have said, Melinek said. That trajectory shows Brown probably was not taking a standard surrender position with arms above the shoulders and palms out when he was hit, she said.
St. Louis County’s medical examiner, Dr. Mary Case, did not comment on this story. Â Dr. Gershom Norfleet, the gentleman who actually performed the autopsy, did not comment either.
Full disclosure: Gershom Norfleet was known to this writer in his childhood. Â He comes from a highly educated household of achievers. Â He also happens to be black. Â It’s kind of surprising that Dr. Case did not do the autopsy herself, but she is one of the best and must trust Norfleet.
So there we have it. Â There was marijuana in Brown’s system at the time of the shooting per Saint Louis University’s toxicology lab and no less than two additional pathologists say that the official autopsy from St. Louis County supports that there was an altercation in the police vehicle where Brown was shot at close range, “Hands Up, Don’t Shoot” didn’t happen, and the kill shot was to the top of the head in what may have been a bum rush as Wilson and other witnesses maintained happened.
With the main evidence in the case leaked now to the public, the grand jury should be concluding its work soon.