Eric Holder orders additional autopsy on Michael Brown. Wait… what?

posted at 5:03 pm on August 17, 2014 by Jazz Shaw

I was traveling most of the afternoon, so I’ll probably rely on some of the usual eagle eyed commenters with legal backgrounds, as well as our usual sources, for some more details on this one. As the situation in Ferguson continues to roil, and the curfew is extended for another night (contrary to previous press announcements) Attorney General Eric Holder is getting involved.

Attorney General Eric Holder called for another autopsy to be performed on slain black teenager Michael Brown, whose shooting by a white cop in a St. Louis suburb has sparked violent protests that left a man critically wounded early Sunday.

“Due to the extraordinary circumstances 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 performed by a federal medical examiner,” Justice Department spokesman Brian Fallon said in a statement.

“This independent examination will take place as soon as possible,” he continued, adding that officials will still take into account the state-performed autopsy during their probe.

The Brown family legal team also hired a reputable forensic pathologist to conduct its own autopsy of the 18-year-old’s body.

Their own spokesperson is using the phrase “extraordinary circumstances” here, so that seems to be an acknowledgement that the normal protocols are in flux. I’m not suggesting that this is illegal – unless somebody can cite a specific instance to make that case – but what is there about the death of Michael Brown that makes this a federal case? If you sweep aside the wall to wall media coverage and celebrities flocking to Ferguson, this is a case of one person who was shot during a confrontation with a local police officer, allegedly on the heels of a low dollar value robbery at a convenience store. Nobody crossed state lines that I’m aware of. And when you look at it in that perspective, there are many such cases around the country every year. (Many more than we would like to see, it should go without saying.)

We try not to leap to conclusions, but it seems there is a rather obvious case to be made that the Obama Administration (unless Holder took this upon himself without approval, which seems unlikely in the extreme) has decided to latch on to this incident and it has political fingerprints all over it. How else would you explain it? Yes, the Brown family attorney supposedly made the request, but I’d be willing to wager that most every family in the country – of any race, religion or otherwise – who lost a family member in violent, questionable circumstances would love to have big guns like this brought to bear. But they don’t get it. And that, again, is assuming that it’s even appropriate for the feds to be injecting themselves into an ongoing investigation to begin with. There haven’t even been any charges files, to say nothing of a trial being held which some might dispute after the outcome. I don’t care for the looks of this at all.


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