The official autopsy of Michael Brown appears to corroborate the testimony of Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson, the Post-Dispatch reports.
A St. Louis medical examiner who is not part of the case, Dr. Michael Graham, evaluated the forensic documents obtained by the Post-Dispatch and determined that the evidence “does support that there was a significant altercation at the car.”
One bullet moved from the tip of Brown’s right thumb towards his wrist, and that there was debris “consist with products discharged from the barrel of a firearm” lodged in the wound on his thumb.
Another forensic pathologist the Post-Dispatch consulted, Dr. Judy Melinek, said the findings “support the fact that this guy is reaching for the gun, if he has gunpowder particulate material in the wound.”
“If he has his hand near the gun when it goes off, he’s going for the officer’s gun,” she added.
Wilson has long claimed that Brown assaulted him while he was in the vehicle. He told investigators that he had asked Brown and his friends to move from the street to the sidewalk, and that when they failed to comply, he attempted to exit the vehicle. Brown, he alleged, shoved him back into his patrol car and began to punch and scratch him.
Dr. Graham said that tissue found on the exterior of the vehicle seems to support Wilson’s account. “Someone got an injury that tore off skin and left it on the car,” he said. “That fits with everything else that came out. There’s blood in the car, now skin on the car, that shows something happened right there.”
A toxicology report found tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, the active ingredient in marijuana, in Brown’s urine and blood. In an email, Alfred Staubus, a consultant in forensic toxicology at the Ohio State University College of Pharmacy, told the Post-Dispatch that “[t]he detection of THC in the postmortem blood of Michael Brown really indicates his recent use of marijuana (within a few hours) and that he may or may not have been impaired at the time of his death.”
Former St. Louis County Police Chief Tim Fitch told KMOX that federal investigators are allowing these leaks to happen as a way of “letting people down slowly,” because it’s “probably very unlikely” that Darren Wilson will be charged for his role in Michael Brown’s death.
“There was a struggle over the weapon. Law enforcement, we know that about half the officers killed every year with firearms are killed with their own,” he said. “If there was a struggle inside that car over a firearm, it sounds to me like Officer Wilson would have been justified in taking the action he did if he pulled the trigger and actually shot Michael Brown in the vehicle area.”
“If Michael Brown was truly turned around and basically charging the officer, he already went for round one fighting over his handgun. Are you going to go for round two and take the chance of losing it this time?” Fitch asked. “I think that would be a more logical explanation as to why Officer Wilson would have discharged his firearm at Michael Brown.”