U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder has taken another step in his investigation into the shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown, whose death has led to fierce protests in the relatively small city of Ferguson, Missouri.
Holder’s office released a statement Sunday morning declaring the “extraordinary circumstances” involved in the case have caused him to order Justice Department officials to perform a second autopsy by a federal medical examiner.
“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. This independent examination will take place as soon as possible,” the statement said.
The St. Louis County Medical Examiner’s office has already examined Brown’s body, which concluded the young African-American teen had died of gunshot wounds after his encounter with the police just over one week ago. The local community has rallied since the death, alleging police bias amid an aggressive crackdown on the demonstrations.
Despite the push for a second look at Brown’s body, Holder’s office said the investigation won’t discount the local medical examiner’s analysis.
“Even after it is complete, Justice Department officials still plan to take the state-performed autopsy into account in the course of their investigation,” the statement said.
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