Michael Brown, the black teenager whose killing by a Missouri police officer prompted more than a week of unrest, was shot at least six times, a family-commissioned medical investigation has found.
“Six bullets struck, and two may have re-entered” the 18-year-old’s body, said Michael Baden, a former New York chief medical examiner, on Monday. Baden was asked by Brown’s family and lawyers to conduct the independent examination on his remains.
One of the bullets hit the top of Brown’s head, another struck his eye, while others hit his right arm, Baden told a news conference in the St Louis suburb of Ferguson.
“All of the gunshot wounds could have been survivable, except the one at the top of the head,” he said.
The family said that the bullet wound on the top of the skull suggested Brown was bowing his head to submit to the officer when he was shot.
Baden said he had found no evidence of an alleged struggle between Brown and the officer, who was reported to have been hurt in the incident, but added that he had not examined the policeman.
The absence of gunpowder on Brown’s body indicated that the muzzle of the gun could have been as close as a metre or as far as nine metres away, Baden added.
He stressed his findings were preliminary and that he needed to see X-rays taken by local coroners just before the bullets were removed from Brown’s corpse.
Brown was shot dead in the street on August 9. He was unarmed. His death prompted protests and a harsh police crackdown in Ferguson, which has a black majority but a mainly white police force.
Three post-mortem exams on the body are under way: one by St Louis County authorities, another by the Brown family and a third by the US federal government, which is investigating possible civil rights violations.
The Baden findings were released as the US National Guard began deploying in Ferguson as Missouri’s governor lifted a curfew imposed over the protests.
“With these additional resources in place, the Missouri state highway patrol and local law enforcement will continue to respond appropriately to incidents of lawlessness and violence, and protect the civil rights of all peaceful citizens to make their voices heard. We will not use a curfew tonight,” Missouri’s governor, Jay Nixon, said in a statement.
UN chief Ban Ki Moon on Monday called on US authorities to protect the right of peaceful protests over Brown’s death in Ferguson.
“He calls on all to exercise restraint, for law enforcement officials to abide by US and international standards in dealing with demonstrators,” a UN spokesman said.
Source: Al Jazeera