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Autopsy, toxicology report on Michael Brown cast doubt on witness claims he was running away

Michael Brown, the 18-year-old black man whose fatal shooting by a white police officer in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson in August touched off weeks of racially-charged rioting, had marijuana in his system, was initially shot at close range and does not appear to have been killed while running away, according to experts who reviewed the official autopsy and toxicology report.

The documents, obtained by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and analyzed by two experts not directly involved in the case, appears to contradict witness accounts that claimed Brown was running away from Police Officer Darren Wilson, 28, when he was killed on Aug. 9. The new information comes on the heels of reports that Wilson told authorities Brown had reached inside Wilson’s police SUV and struggled for his gun, resulting in Wilson firing twice, hitting Brown once in the hand. Moments later and outside of the vehicle, Wilson fired the fatal bullets that sparked a national controversy.

The newspaper had St. Louis medical examiner Dr. Michael Graham, who is not part of the official investigation, review the autopsy report, and he determined that it “does support that there was a significant altercation at the car” including a shot that hit Brown’s right hand. Dr. Judy Melinek, a forensic pathologist in San Francisco who also reviewed the documents, concurred that the autopsy “supports the fact that this guy is reaching for the gun” and that it did not support claims Brown was shot while running away from Wilson, or with his hands up.

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