Michael Brown, the 18-year-old killed by police in Ferguson, Mo., on Aug. 9, was shot at least six times, including twice in the head, the New York Times reported.
The findings came Sunday after a preliminary private autopsy, the second performed on Brown, by Michael M. Baden, former chief medical officer for the state of New York, at the request of the Brown family. The first autopsy was performed by the St. Louis County Medical Examiner’s office.
“There were at least six entry wounds, there might have been seven, but we’ll have to correlate that with what was found in the first autopsy,” Baden, who retired from the New York state police in 2011, told the Wall Street Journal.
He cautioned against drawing conclusions from the autopsy. “Right now there is too little information to forensically reconstruct the shooting,” he told the Times, but added: “In my capacity as the forensic examiner for the New York State Police, I would say, ‘You’re not supposed to shoot so many times.'”
He also told the Times about Brown’s head wounds.
“This one here looks like his head was bent downward,” he said, indicating a wound at the top of Brown’s head. “It can be because he’s giving up, or because he’s charging forward at the officer.”
Baden, 80, a veteran medical examiner who has performed 20,000 autopsies, reviewed the autopsies of John F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King Jr. and hosted the HBO show “Autopsy,” said the bullets hit Brown in the front, but the absence of gunpowder showed they were not fired at close range. Baden also said nothing indicated Brown had been in an altercation. This seems to contradict the statements of Brown’s friend, Dorian Johnson, who said the officer now identified as Darren Wilson grabbed Brown’s neck with one hand and shot him with the other.
“It was definitely like being shot like an animal,” Johnson said, according to NBC.
A lawyer for the Brown family said the autopsy results support the claim that the killing was unjustified.
“The sheer number of bullets and the way they were scattered all over his body showed this police officer had a brazen disregard for the very people he was supposed to protect in that community,” Benjamin L. Crump, a lawyer for the Brown family who hired Baden, told the Times. “We want to make sure people understand what this case is about: This case is about a police officer executing a young unarmed man in broad daylight.”
Crump paid for Baden’s travel expenses, but Baden did not charge for the autopsy.
On Sunday, U.S. Attorney General Eric H. Holder ordered a third autopsy performed.