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County investigation: Michael Brown was shot from the front, had marijuana in his system

Demonstrators protest the police shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown. (Joshua Lott/AFP/Getty Images)

Michael Brown was shot in the head and chest multiple times, according to Mary Case, the St. Louis County medical examiner.

While Case declined to comment further, citing the ongoing investigation into Brown’s death, another person familiar with the county’s investigation told The Washington Post that Brown had between six and eight gunshot wounds and was shot from the front.

In addition, Brown had marijuana in his system when he was shot and killed by a police officer on Aug. 9 in Ferguson, according to this person, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the ongoing investigation.

The report from Case’s office was released to the St. Louis County prosecutor’s office on Friday night but has not been made public. This report is part of the county’s official investigation into the shooting, but it is one of three autopsies being conducted.

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Brown’s family and attorneys also requested its own autopsy, which was carried out by Michael Baden, a medical examiner who released preliminary details from his review on Monday.

In anticipation that Brown could be vilified by the results of the drug test, conducted as a routine part of the autopsy, protesters have consistently insisted that Darren Wilson, the officer who shot Brown, should be required to submit to one as well.

“What was in the system of that cop when he was pumping bullets into that boy’s body?” asked a protest leader, shouting into a megaphone, during a rally on Friday afternoon.

Residents and protesters have noted that allegations of marijuana use have been used in the past by some in an attempt to disparage the character of shooting victims, including in the Trayvon Martin case.

Baden said Monday he had great respect for Mary Case, the medical examiner in St. Louis County, and said he expected that her review would show similar results to his.

“It sounds consistent,” Benjamin Crump, an attorney for Brown’s family, told The Washington Post. Brown’s attorneys believe Darren Wilson may have fired more than six shots, but “we wanted to err on the side of caution.”

The family gave permission for a medical examiner with the U.S. military to conduct a third autopsy, which was requested Sunday by the Department of Justice.

Crump said he didn’t know anything about marijuana being found in Brown’s body.

Baden and Case often speak at the same conferences, and Baden has attended lectures she gives on autopsy reports. But a source familiar with the issue said that she was not aware he was conducting an autopsy.

Case said Monday that she was not bothered to hear that additional autopsies would be conducted.

“I’m not upset at all,” she said. “This is highly controversial case and it’s good that everyone interested in it can have a say.”

Adam Goldman contributed to this report.

Emily Wax-Thibodeaux is a National staff writer who covers veterans, veterans' affairs and the culture of government. She's an award-winning former foreign correspondent who covered Africa and India for nearly a decade. She also covered immigration, crime and education for the Metro staff.
Wesley Lowery is a national reporter covering law enforcement and justice for the Washington Post. He previously covered Congress and national politics.
Mark Berman covers national news for The Washington Post and anchors Post Nation, a destination for breaking news and stories from around the country.

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