Citing “extraordinary circumstances,” U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder ordered a second official autopsy to be performed on Michael Brown, the 18-year-old who was fatally shot by a Ferguson, Mo., police officer last week.
“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,” said Justice Department spokesman Brian Fallon in a statement.
“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.”
Results from the autopsy conducted by the state have yet to be released and may not come for several weeks.
Witnesses claim that Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson shot Brown, who was unarmed, up to eight times following an altercation. Some witnesses interviewed by the media have claimed that Brown was shot in the back and while he was crouching down on the ground surrendering.
Another witness who claimed to see the shooting but who has not been interviewed was overheard on video saying that Brown had turned towards Wilson and was possibly running towards the officer. That witness gave no indication that Brown was shot in the back or that he was surrendering. (RELATED: Unwitting Witness Pokes Holes In Michael Brown Shooting Story)
Earlier this week, Holder issued a statement calling for a “fulsome review” of the shooting and announced that the civil rights division of the Department of Justice would be conducting an investigation as well. Holder also met with Brown’s parents on Thursday.
On Saturday, Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon announced that 40 additional FBI agents would be canvassing the neighborhood where Brown was shot in order to find witnesses who had not yet been interviewed. (RELATED: Capt. Ron Johnson Breaks Ferguson Curfew Promise)
Brown’s family also hired pathologist Michael Baden to conduct its own separate autopsy and has also called for a federal autopsy.