20 August 2014

Ferguson and Michael Brown's autopsy: The rush to judgment is usually wrong

A few excerpts from this article at CNN entitled "What Michael Brown's autopsy tells us":

1. "What you can tell from a second or third autopsy is limited by autopsy artifact -- changes to the evidence caused by the performance of the first autopsy."

2. "..any pathologist hired by the family, regardless of expertise, does not have access to the crime scene and other evidence. Even Baden, in the report he prepared for the Brown family, concluded that without the clothing, evidence or scene information, he had "too little information to forensically reconstruct the shooting."

3. "Already the results of Baden's limited investigation are being used to support the contention that Brown was surrendering, and that the wounds were distant range, even though Baden himself said neither."

Were Michael Brown hand's in the air?

4. "The wound at the top of the head, the frontal wounds and angled right hand and arm wounds suggest that the victim was facing the officer, leaning forward with his right arm possibly extended in line with the gun's barrel, and not above his head...The image of a person standing upright with his hands in the air when he was shot does not appear compatible with the wounds documented on that diagram." Baden's autopsy couldn't confirm that Brown's hands were in the air, either.

What about the eyewitnesses?

5. "From the perspective of a witness, it could appear that the leaning person is complying with the officer and getting down. From the perspective of the officer, he may appear to be coming at him. Partial evidence yields partial answers, and a rush to conclusions based on one isolated set of data from a second autopsy only raises more questions."

Most importantly: "That is why it is so important to be patient and wait for all the scene information to come to light." This is why you don't rush to judgment.

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