Although an autopsy of Michael Brown has been performed by state of Missouri officials, on Sunday, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder announced that an independent federal medical examination is ordered at the request of Mike Brown’s family. The second exam marks a major step in a possible civil rights probe into the Ferguson shooting and death of the unnamed teen, citing a Business Insider news report.
A former DOJ spokesperson tweeted about the developing story stemming from the events of the shooing to Michael Brown.
In addition to state-performed medical examination, AG Holder is ordering federal autopsy be performed at request of Brown family #Ferguson
— Brian Fallon (@brianefallon) August 17, 2014
Due to the extraordinary circumstance 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 perform by a federal medical examiner. This independent examination will take place as soon as possible. Even after it is complete. Justice Department officials still plan to take the state-performed autopsy into account in the course of their investigation.” ~DOJ statement.
In addition to the state and federal medical examinations, the Brown family has also retained the services of noted forensic pathologist Michael Baden to perform a thorough autopsy for comparison. Baden is well-known in the legal community for his participation in a number of high-profile death investigations. His testimony has been crucial in autopsy cases involving the deaths of Michael Jackson, President John F. Kennedy, Nicole Brown-Simpson and others.
The community of Ferguson, Missouri has been mired in public scrutiny over the fatal shooting of Michael Brown a week ago. The incident has since opened up old wounds that defined the era of Jim Crow laws, racial animus and public brutality, most notably against men of color in America.
Since news spread of the shooting death of the 18-year-old teen, the tiny town in St. Louis County has fallen into the public’s eye, as locals square off with law enforcement. There are many moving parts to this tragedy, and many hope the talk of de-militarization of the police, the reopened discussions of race relations and the Eric Holder’s ordering of an independent autopsy of Michael Brown’s body, sets a precedent of things to come when similar matters arise.
Attorney General Holder emphasized that the federal probe into the death investigation is not meant to upstage or circumvent the state’s autopsy. Moreover, the fed intend to take the local results into account when drawing conclusions.
Meanwhile, Missouri Governor Nixon has ordered a curfew in Ferguson in order to control the flash points of rioting and looting involving a minority of individuals who are taking part in social unrest.
As of this writing, there are still unanswered questions about the events that led to the shooting. The public and officials continue to push for transparency along with a fair and balanced investigation. The federal autopsy of Michael Brown is a crucial step in that direction.
Stay tuned for more developments.
[Image via Tara Dodrill]