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Issue #1662      October 29, 2014

Brown autopsy spun to favour police

A leaked autopsy report on Michael Brown’s death points to gunshot wounds on the victim’s hands and marijuana in his system. Brown was killed at point blank range by a Ferguson police officer after being stopped for walking in the street.

The official report obtained by the St Louis Post Dispatch suggests a struggle inside the police car prior to Brown’s being gunned down by multiple gunshot wounds to the head and chest. It is being spun as corroborating officer Darren Wilson’s story.

Protesters have been demanding in over 70-days of continuous demonstrations that a grand jury return an indictment against the officer.

The timing of the report along with the emphasis on powder burns on Brown’s hands and marijuana use may suggest local officials’ tactics designed to undermine the grand jury’s work prior to its completion.

The Washington Post reported that its sources said the levels [of marijuana] “in Brown’s body may have been high enough to trigger hallucinations.”

Marijuana however would have to be ingested in large amounts for hallucinations to occur. A study of medical marijuana by the American Academy of Neurology found that hallucinations are rare: “The risk of serious psychopathologic effects (hallucinations, etc) was cited to be about one percent.”

A study by Colombia University found hallucinations might occur in one in seven people who smoked daily.

The Justice Department took strong issue with the release of coroner’s report: “The department considers the selective release of information in this investigation to be irresponsible and highly troubling. Since the release of the convenience store footage there seems to be an inappropriate effort to influence public opinion about this case.”

A former FBI agent said as much to CNN: “It could be really for, in part, a beneficial purpose, to start leading those community leaders and those leading the protests to believe that there won’t be an indictment,” said Ron Hosko, former assistant director of the FBI Criminal Division.

That a struggle occurred in the patrol car however was not in much dispute. The shots fired after Brown began running away in addition must be accounted for. A federal autopsy is also underway.

The case is under investigation by both the local grand jury and by the Justice Department. The grand jury’s report is due in November.

People’s World

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