December 19, 2014
Federal autopsy ordered for teen shot by police in Ferguson, Missouri
US Attorney General Eric Holder ordered a federal autopsy of a teenager shot dead by a police officer in Ferguson, Missouri, seeking to assure the family and community there will be a thorough investigation into a death that has sparked days of racially charged protests.
Eighteen-year-old Michael Brown, who was black, was shot by white police officer Darren Wilson on August 9. The police department in the St. Louis suburb has come under strong criticism for both the death of an unarmed man and its handling of the aftermath.
US President Barack Obama has been getting regular briefings while on vacation in Martha's Vineyard, including from senior adviser Valerie Jarrett.
Jarrett spoke with Nixon yesterday to get an update and offer the administration's continued coordination and support with state and local officials, a White House spokesman said.
Jarrett had also been in touch with civil rights leaders, including Sharpton and NAACP President Cornell Brooks over the last few days, he said.
The US Department of Justice and the St. Louis County Police department are investigating Brown's death, which has been described differently by the police and by a friend who was walking with him at the time.
Police say that after Wilson asked Brown to move out of the road onto a sidewalk, Brown reached into the patrol car and struggled with Wilson for the officer's service gun. Wilson, who sustained a facial injury, then shot Brown a number of times.
The friend, Dorian Johnson, 22, and at least one other witness have said the officer reached out through his car window to grab at Brown and the teenager was trying to get away from the officer when he was shot. Brown held up his hands in a sign of surrender but the officer got out of his patrol car and shot Brown several times, they said.
In Los Angeles today, civil rights activists and supporters of the family of another young black man shot dead by police, Ezell Ford, planned to rally outside LAPD headquarters.
The family of the 25-year-old said he was complying with officers and lying down when he was shot, and that he has mental challenges. The LAPD says he struggled with officers and was going for one of their guns when he was killed.