Justice Department Authorizes Second Autopsy On Michael Brown

By: Shimon Prokupecz and Steve Almasy
By: Shimon Prokupecz and Steve Almasy

Justice Department Seeks Second Autopsy On Brown

FERGUSON, MO (CNN) Hundreds of people packed a church in Ferguson on Sunday during an emotional rally demanding justice for Michael Brown.

A cousin of Brown, an unarmed black teenager who was shot dead eight days ago by a white police officer, told the church audience that Brown was killed without reason.

"What I want y'all to remember is that Michael Brown was not just some young black boy. He was a human being ... ," Ty Pruitt said. "He was not a suspect. He was not an object. He was not an animal. But that's how he was killed."

Michael Brown's parents -- Lesley McSpadden and Michael Brown Sr. -- appeared on stage at the rally at Greater Grace Church with attorney Benjamin Crump but didn't address the audience.

Missouri State Highway Patrol Capt. Ron Johnson spoke to the 1,300 people in the congregation and said he had a heavy heart.

"The past 24 hours have been tough for me," he said. Johnson said he met with members of the Brown family and was moved to tears.

He also had to deal with a night where protests turned violent after a curfew began. One male was shot, authorities said. It was unclear how old he was or who shot him.

Officials said state highway patrol officers didn't fire any shots. They did fire tear gas to get to the wounded victim, Johnson said early Sunday.

Seven people were arrested after the curfew was violated

"I can tell you that I was disappointed in the actions of (Saturday) tonight," said Johnson, who's in charge of security for the town.

The curfew will be in effect again as of midnight Sunday, said Sgt. Al Nothum with the Missouri State Highway Patrol. It ends at 5 a.m. CT.

Two more autopsies

Brown was shot to death August 9 by a police officer after a confrontation as the teen walked down the street. Accounts of exactly what happened when Officer Darren Wilson stopped Brown vary widely.

Witnesses said they saw a scuffle between the officer and Brown at the police car before the young man was shot. Police said Brown struggled with the officer and reached for his weapon.

Several witnesses said Brown raised his hands and was not attacking the officer.

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder has approved a second autopsy on Brown's body, the Justice Department said Sunday.

The autopsy will be conducted by a federal medical examiner, Justice Department spokesman Brian Fallon said in a statement.

"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," the statement said.

"This independent examination will take place as soon as possible. Even after it is complete, Justice Department officials still plan to take the state-performed autopsy into account in the course of their investigation."

There will be a third autopsy, at the request of the family.

Anthony Gray, a lawyer for the Brown family, said that high-profile pathologist Michael Baden would conduct an autopsy on the teenager's body. Baden testified in the O.J. Simpson, Phil Spector and Drew Peterson murder trials.

Curfew violations

Dozens of protesters -- a noticeably younger group than what has been the norm in Ferguson -- gathered late Saturday to express their disagreement by marching and raising their hands in the air. The surrender posture -- which some witnesses say Brown was showing when he was killed -- has become symbolic of the protests.

St. Louis Alderman Antonio French spoke with protesters to try to convince them to abide by the curfew -- which he said was a compromise reached between the government and community leaders.

While many heeded French's advice, a small group of people could not be convinced to stay home.

"Some of the guys didn't want to be told to leave," French said. "That's their right."

Police fired smoke canisters on protesters in the first hour of the curfew.

Johnson said authorities clamped down on protesters in response to the shooting, as opposed to the curfew violations.

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon said that despite the violence and arrests, he was happy overall with authorities' handling of the unrest. He also thanked community members who he said were helpful in getting the city "through what could have been a very difficult night."

There were also protestors who violated the curfew on Saturday and some looting.

Police had been criticized for not doing more to stop looting of at least three stores.

"You still have a job to do now, and now you're not doing your job," Tanya Littleton said Saturday of police after thieves broke into her beauty supply shop and made off with bags of hair extensions worth hundreds of dollars.

Protests during the day had been peaceful. At noon Saturday -- the hour that police said Wilson shot Brown a week earlier -- protesters outside the police station silently raised their arms into the air.

Civil rights leader Jesse Jackson joined loud crowds that marched in the street carrying signs saying, "Mike Brown is our son" and "The whole world is watching Ferguson." They chanted, "Hands up, don't shoot" and "Hey hey, ho ho, killer cops have got to go."


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