Holder: Selective release of Michael Brown information is ‘troubling’


Michael Baden, who conducted an independent autopsy at the request of Michael Brown’s family, discusses his findings Monday. (Roberto Rodriguez/European Pressphoto Agency)

Attorney General Eric Holder on Monday criticized the way information regarding Michael Brown’s death has been released, but he asked for patience as the Justice Department conducts a civil rights investigation into the death.

“The selective release of sensitive information that we have seen in this case so far is troubling to me,” Holder said in a statement. “No matter how others pursue their own separate inquiries, the Justice Department is resolved to preserve the integrity of its investigation.”

Holder’s criticism came as new details emerged Monday regarding two other inquiries into Brown’s death, part of a slow trickle of information in the days since the unarmed 18-year-old was killed Aug. 9. Attorneys for Brown’s family released information from an autopsy, conducted at the family’s request, which they said showed that he was trying to surrender when he was killed. Meanwhile, a source close to the St. Louis County investigation of the shooting told The Post that Brown had six to eight bullet wounds and was shot from the front.

Authorities have been slow to release information about Officer Darren Wilson, who shot Brown. It took the police nearly a week to identify the officer, despite repeated calls for his name.

And when the Ferguson police did finally identify Wilson, they pivoted quickly to discussing a robbery that had occurred the morning Brown was shot and released a police report identifying the teenager as a suspect. A few hours later, the Ferguson police came out and said the encounter between Brown and Wilson had nothing to do with a robbery, only for the police chief to pivot yet again later in the day and say that Wilson had seen stolen cigars in Brown’s hand and thought he might be the robber.

Meanwhile, more than a week after Brown’s death, officials in the county have still repeatedly declined to publicly say how many times he was shot or where on his body he was struck.

Holder, who plans to visit Ferguson on Wednesday, said that more than 40 FBI agents continued to canvass the Ferguson neighborhood where Brown was killed and have conducted several new interviews.

In addition, Holder said a medical examiner from the U.S. military would conduct an autopsy on Monday at his direction. “I am confident this additional autopsy will be thorough and aid in our investigation,” he said.

Holder also criticized those who had looted on the streets of Ferguson, saying that he would send federal officials to help try and maintain the peace in the tension-riven city. He has previously criticized the police response in Ferguson and said he was “deeply concerned” about the use of military equipment.

Mark Berman is a reporter on the National staff. He runs Post Nation, a destination for breaking news and developing stories from around the country.

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Mark Berman · August 18, 2014

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