UK & World News

  • 19 August 2014, 3:16

'No Evidence Of Struggle' On Missouri Teen's Body

Pathologists hired by the family of a Missouri teenager shot dead by police say a preliminary post-mortem found no evidence of a struggle between the victim and the officer.

The independent autopsy conducted on 18-year-old Michael Brown determined he was shot at least six times, including a "fatal shot" that entered the top of his head.

Forensic pathologist Shawn Parcells said it was possible that another bullet wound to Mr Brown's right forearm could have occurred while his arm was raised or while he had his back turned to the officer.

"But we don't know," Mr Parcells added. "We still have to look at the other (elements) of this investigation before we start piecing things together."

Witnesses have claimed Mr Brown was attempting to surrender when Officer Darren Wilson fatally shot the unarmed teen on August 9.

The shooting touched off a week of rancorous protests in the St Louis suburb where police have used riot gear and tear gas to quell looting and enforce a curfew.

On Monday, Barack Obama said Attorney General Eric Holder would travel to Ferguson later this week to meet with local law enforcement, community leaders and federal agents who are investigating the case.

Former New York City chief medical examiner Dr Michael Baden, who led the independent post-mortem, said two bullets struck Mr Brown in the head, while four more hit his arm.

He said the wound to the top of Mr Brown's head suggested the teen was bent forward when the bullet struck him.

Police have said Ofc Wilson was pushed into his squad car, then physically assaulted in the vehicle during a struggle over his weapon.

At least one shot was fired inside the car, police said, before the struggle spilled on to the street.

On Monday, Dr Baden said the post-mortem did not reveal any signs of gunpowder on the victim's body, which would be consistent with close-range shots.

He added that neither he nor Mr Parcells examined Mr Brown's clothing, which could have traces of gunpowder.

Attorneys representing Mr Brown's family said the post-mortem results supported witness claims that Mr Brown was attempting to surrender when Ofc Wilson opened fire.

However, Dr Baden said the findings were not enough to "make a definitive judgement".

A third post-mortem will be conducted by federal authorities at the request of Mr Holder.

Results from an initial autopsy conducted by the St Louis County medical examiner's office have not been released.

Meanwhile, Missouri Governor Jay Nixon has ordered the National Guard to Ferguson to "help restore peace and order" following yet another night of violent clashes.

Mr Nixon said that Guard troops will have a limited role under the direction of the state highway patrol, who took over for Ferguson police last week.

The governor also announced that he was lifting a midnight-to-5am curfew that had been put in place at the weekend.

Mr Obama reiterated his call for calm on Monday, saying that while he understands the passions over Mr Brown's death, "giving in to that anger by looting or carrying guns and even attacking the police only serves to raise tensions and to stir chaos.

"It undermines rather than advances justice," the president added.

He urged members of the community to "seek to heal, rather than wound each other".

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