Attorney General Eric Holder decided the Department of Justice (DOJ) will be conducting its own autopsy on Michael Brown, the unarmed, African-American teenager gunned down by police in Ferguson, Missouri last weekend.
A statement released yesterday by Justice Department spokesperson Brian Fallon said,
“Due to the extraordinary circumstances involved in this case and at the request of the Brown family, Attorney General Holder has instructed Justice Department officials to arrange for an additional autopsy to be performed by a federal medical examiner. This independent examination will take place as soon as possible.”
The DOJ’s autopsy will be one of three performed on Brown: another was performed by local officials, and one was performed by Dr. Michael M. Baden, the former chief medical examiner for New York City. The details of the autopsy performed by St. Louis County have yet to be released, other than the confirmation that Brown did die of gunshot wounds.
Baden performed his autopsy at the request of the Brown family, who wanted an objective report as they are suspicious of state and local authorities. His findings, which were released yesterday, included that Brown was shot at least six times, including twice in the head.
After federal officials said they will investigate the case for possible civil rights violations, the DOJ released a statement Friday, saying,
“…FBI agents, working together with attorneys from the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division and US Attorney’s Office, have already conducted several interviews of witnesses on the scene at the time of the shooting. Over the next several days, teams of FBI agents will be canvassing the neighborhood where the shooting took place to identify any individuals who may have information related to the shooting and have not yet come forward.”
David Weinstein, a former federal prosecutor and supervisor of the criminal civil rights section of Miami’s US Attorney’s office, told the Associated Press that a federal autopsy “more closely focused on the entry point of projectiles, defensive wound, and bruises” could help in the investigation.
DOJ officials have said they “still plan to take the state-performed autopsy into account in the course of their investigation.”
It was announced earlier today that a grand jury could begin hearing evidence as soon as Wednesday to “determine whether Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson faces criminal charges” for the shooting.