St. Louis Medical Examiner SLAMS Brown Family Hire
The chief medical examiner of St. Louis County, who performed the first autopsy on Michael Brown after he was shot on Aug. 9, says that she is concerned by one of the men hired by the Brown family to conduct its own exam.
“I can tell you absolutely that I find what Parcells does to be abysmal,” Dr. Mary Case told The Daily Caller when asked about Shawn Parcells, a Kansas-based forensic pathologist assistant. He has been accused in the past of fabricating his job title and of conducting autopsies without a license.
Parcells, along with Dr. Michael Baden, was hired last week by the Brown family to conduct an independent private autopsy. They did so, they said, because they did not trust local authorities to conduct a thorough investigation into Brown’s police shooting death.
The team released its results on Monday and determined that Brown was shot at least six times.
One crucial determination was the trajectory of the bullet that killed Brown. Parcells explained to TheDC earlier this week that the bullet was traveling in a back to front direction, indicating that Brown was bent over in some fashion when he was struck.
The location of Brown’s head when he was shot is sure to figure prominently in the investigation. The Brown family and many across the U.S. believe that Brown was “executed” by Ferguson, Mo. police officer Darren Wilson in broad daylight. Wilson reportedly claims he shot Brown in self-defense.
But Mary Case, along with a number of other medical examiners and pathologists, have been heavily critical of Parcells.
“He is doing forensic autopsies which may send someone to prison, and he is not a physician, much less a forensic pathologist,” she told TheDC, adding that forensic pathologists and medical examiners throughout the U.S. “are shocked by this man and how bold he is to do what he does.”
“No one stops him,” she said.
Case said that Baden, 80, “is an excellent forensic pathologist.” At a press conference Monday, Baden said the same thing about her.
But Case claims that Baden was unaware of what she called Parcells’ “baggage.”
“Dr. Baden did not know about Parcells’ baggage or he would not have become associated with him,” Case told TheDC. “His association with Parcells is very unfortunate.”
Asked whether she is concerned that Parcells’ shortcomings are an issue in the Brown autopsy, Case said, “Of course I do.”
Parcells operates National Forensic Autopsy & Tissue Recovery Services out of Overland Park, Kan.
Forensic pathologist Dr. Erik Mitchell complained to a Kansas City news station earlier this week that Parcells is working without a license.
And Dr. Thomas Young, the former medical examiner of Jackson County, Mo., told the station that Parcells was misrepresenting himself when he said Young was his mentor. (RELATED: None In The Back: Brown Autopsy Shows He Was Shot In The Front Of The Body)
“He has been representing himself in a way that is not appropriate by giving forensic pathology opinions when he is not qualified to do so,” Young told the station.
Told of Case’s criticism, Parcells told TheDC, “Oh, I’m not surprised.”
“She hasn’t liked me for a really long time. So, whatever. I don’t know what else to say other than that.”
Parcells told TheDC that the others who have accused him of improperly conducting exams “are just jealous.”
Parcells explained how he was hired on to help with the Brown autopsy. He said that he received an email from the Brown family attorneys last week. He told TheDC that it was his understanding that Baden was contacted separately.
Parcells told the attorneys that he would like to help with the autopsy. After Baden was brought on, Parcells said he asked if his assistance would be needed. He was told that Baden said he would be “delighted” to have Parcells’ help.
Baden, who is a well-regarded pathologist, did not hand-pick Parcells. But Parcells told TheDC that he discussed with Baden some of the complaints that have been leveled against him in the past. Parcells said Baden told him not to worry about his detractors.
Baden could not be reached for comment.
Parcells provided a mixed picture of just how much input he had on the Brown autopsy.
On the one hand, he downplayed his role; on the other, he said that Baden felt he contributed greatly to the investigation.
“He felt that I was very instrumental in the investigation and very instrumental in helping him with his analysis,” Parcells told TheDC.
But, he said, “at the end of the day, I was assisting Dr. Baden.”
At Monday’s press conference when the autopsy results were released, Parcells presented the findings to the audience. Asked why he gave the explanation and not Baden, Parcells said that Baden felt he was a more concise speaker.
The results of Case’s autopsy have not been released. The Department of Justice ordered its own exam as well, but those results have not been released either.