THE LAST WORD WITH LAWRENCE O`DONNELL
August 18, 2014
Guest: Chad Garrison, Reggie Jones, Shawn Parcells, Eugene O`Donnell
LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, MSNBC HOST: Rachel, I`m so glad you showed all that
great work Chris Hayes has been doing in Ferguson, just amazing.
RACHEL MADDOW, "TRMS" HOST: Yes, good. Thanks, Lawrence.
O`DONNELL: Thanks, Rachel.
Well, we now have the preliminary results of one of the three autopsies
that will be done on the body of Michael Brown. The man who assisted in
that first autopsy that`s been reported will join me.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The whole country holds its breath every nightfall.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Governor Jay Nixon ordered the National Guard to the
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The guard`s mission here will be limited in scope --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Their presence can escalate the situation even further.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They keep giving all this force. We don`t need that.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Tensions are rising because of another night of
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We`re well-equipped to handle this mission.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How did an American suburb turn into a warzone?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What people are calling disorder is really people
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There were demonstrators who were out in face-offs
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It feels like we`re going back to the `60s.
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Let`s seek to heal rather
than to wound each other.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They want to see criminal against this officer Darren
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The wheels of justice are slow.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Private autopsy performed on Michael Brown.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Showed that Michael Brown was shot at least six
times, including twice in the head.
AL SHARPTON: Extremely disturbing to me.
OBAMA: The attorney general himself will be traveling to Ferguson on
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There`s not a whole lot of faith in how this is being
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I`ve never seen a situation more poorly handled.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The grieving Brown family pleads for justice.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Arrest this man and make him accountable for his
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The trust has been broken.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Why is Officer Wilson still walking free?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Nothing happens to him behind this, they`re going to
need more than the National Guard down here.
O`DONNELL: There is no curfew in Ferguson tonight, but the National Guard
has moved into place there. And President Obama is not so sure that that`s
such a great idea.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: This was a state-activated National Guard, so it`s under the charge
of the governor. This is not something that we initiated at the federal
level. I spoke to Jay Nixon about this, expressed an interest in making
sure that if, in fact, a National Guard is used it is used in a limited and
appropriate way. I`ll be watching over the next several days to assess
whether in fact it`s helping rather than hindering progress in Ferguson.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: President Obama had more to say today about the situation in
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: Our constitutional rights to speak freely, to assemble, and to
report in the press must be vigilantly safeguarded, especially in moments
like these. There`s no excuse for excessive force by police or any action
that denies people the right too protest peacefully.
Ours is a nation of laws. For the citizens who live under them and for the
citizens who enforce them. Right now, what we have to do is to make sure
that the cause of justice and fair administration of the law is being
brought to bear in Ferguson. In order to do that, we`ve got to make sure
that we are able to distinguish between peaceful protesters who may have
some legitimate grievances and may be long-standing grievances, and those
who are using this tragic death as an excuse to engage in criminal behavior
and tossing Molotov cocktails or looting stores.
And that is a small minority of folks and may not even be residents of
Ferguson. But they are damaging the cause. They`re not advancing it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Joining me from Ferguson, Trymaine Lee, national reporter for
Trymaine, we just heard from Captain Johnson. We got video of him saying,
so far, so good tonight in Ferguson.
TRYMAINE LEE, MSNBC.COM NATIONAL REPORTER: It`s almost eerie how quiet it
is compared to the nights before. By this time yesterday, there were
already police mobilizing. Protesters were already taking their positions.
Now, because there`s a no standing order, so anyone that stops even for a
moment is told to keep moving. And so, the group is actually just marching
up and around the block and all the way down the street. So, you hear now,
there are deep lulls.
Then sometimes you realize how thick the crowd still is. They come by
chanting. As they`re -- I don`t know if they`re growing but it`s a thick
crowd. But again, there`s nothing right now to indicate that any fireworks
are on the way.
O`DONNELL: We`re also joined now by Chad Garrison. He`s the editor in
chief of "The Riverfront Times."
Chad, it seems from just looking at the way these decisions have been made
in sequence that somebody there decided the curfew wasn`t working.
CHAD GARRISON, THE RIVERFRONT TIMES: Yes, well you know, this is as you
know unprecedented in St. Louis. And I think that they`re somewhat
grasping at straws looking for some way to kind of quell the unrest. And,
you know, perhaps this keep moving initiative today will do that, seems to
be bearing out at least so far.
O`DONNELL: Let`s listen to more about what President Obama had to say
about this today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: I have to be very careful about not prejudging these events before
investigations are completed, because although these are issues of local
jurisdiction, you know, the DOJ works for me when they`re conducting an
investigation, I`ve got to make sure that I don`t look like I`m putting my
thumb on the scales one way or the other.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Trymaine Lee, have you gotten any sense from people in the
street today what their reaction to President Obama`s comments today has
LEE: Yes, over the course of the week when the president and then Attorney
General Eric Holder weighed in, people definitely appreciated, because one
of the things they want, there are a few, but one is to be heard. And to
be heard at the highest levels of government of the United States means
And I think there is extraordinary pressure. These are issues that black
people in this community care deeply about. And they want their black
president to care deeply about their feelings. So, people appreciate it.
But then people are also asking, what next? I talked to one person who
commented on the calm and the no standing rule and how everyone`s so in
order. He`s saying, basically, I feel like I`ve been co-opted.
Protest when is you`re protesting authority. Here they`re doing exactly
what authority wants. But I think also some people may be tired of the
last few nights of gassings and violence.
But again, back to your point, people appreciate it but there`s still more.
They still want answers. They want transparency. And, ultimately, they
want an arrest.
O`DONNELL: Chad Garrison, what is your sense of the reaction in the larger
St. Louis community outside of Ferguson and areas nearby?
GARRISON: This is the -- remains the most talked about story, obviously --
it seems like I don`t have a nationwide perspective because I`m here in St.
Louis, but this is all that everyone`s talking about. You know, I think to
Trymaine`s point earlier, I think that at this point people want really to
see leadership from Barack Obama and maybe it is actually coming here to
But people want this resolved. This is the ninth night. And hopefully
that`s going to happen but it just doesn`t seem like there`s an end in
O`DONNELL: Trymaine Lee, Chris Hayes has been making a great point that
the big show of force after some sort of event by some people who want to
kind of provoke that show of force, it seems -- they are rewarding, in
effect, the people in that -- who find their way into that crowd to do
something specifically provocative to the police. So, obviously, a very
small number of people who have been doing that, but they seem to want to
provoke that big militaristic response.
And what Chris Hayes keeps wondering about, is there going to be a way to
break that cycle?
LEE: That very well could be. But the police presence, even when it`s not
so highly militarized, sparks confrontation, because the mood changes.
People are chanting and being heard, then you have a police officer barking
orders at you. You have police cars running up on the side of the road,
blocking the road.
Now, there are factions, though. I was speaking with Malik Sabaz (ph) of
the Black Lawyers for Justice earlier, who`s been doing an impressive job
of keeping folks in line and trying to keep everyone orderly, who kept
saying they`re agent provocateurs, that we`re not going to let them
sabotage what they`re trying to do here, and that tonight, this peace
showed people you can come and march peacefully in the name of Michael
So, there is this belief there are people that are part of this -- joining
in the crowd just to be provocative, just to cause trouble, and frankly
seems like the leadership, they`re tired of that action because it`s
overshadowing what they care deeply about, which is justice for Michael
Brown and a brighter light on what they see as a long line of police
brutality and police harassment.
O`DONNELL: Trymaine Lee, we`ll come back to you if there`s any more
developments on the street there. Thank you very much for joining us
And, Chad Garrison of "The Riverfront Times" --
LEE: Thank you.
O`DONNELL: -- thank you for joining us tonight.
You`re now looking at protests occurring on West Florissant Avenue.
If you follow West Florissant north, you`ll be into the town of Dellwood
Joining me now is Dellwood Mayor Reggie Jones.
Mayor Jones, what is your reaction to the National Guard moving into this
MAYOR REGGIE JONES, DELLWOOD, MO: Well, this time, Lawrence, I think that
we needed some support.
Last night, the police officers pushed a line further up West Florissant,
which left the Dellwood side kind of unprotected, we didn`t have enough
police fourth on that end. So, at this point, to protect my residents and
my businesses, you know, I have to be in favor of anything that`s going to
allow us to have more protection.
We had over eight businesses looted as of last night. So, my residents are
getting very scared that this is coming closer and closer to us. So, I`m
in favor of some any kind of heightened security for my community.
O`DONNELL: Talk to us about the politics of these two communities, yours
versus Ferguson, and how Ferguson can be a majority African-American
community and yet not see that represented in their elected officials.
JONES: Well, Dellwood was the same way for many years. We also had a
police force that had some issues as well. But we found individuals to run
for the council. We found individuals like myself to run for mayor, so
that we can get inside the government and make the necessary changes we
needed to make, and just changes that will be fair to the people.
We have a diverse community. It`s very important that you have a diverse
city as far as your police department, your city hall staff, your
People want to see people that look like them. That`s just a fact. Even
Dellwood is 80 percent African-American, 20 percent Caucasian. The 20
percent wants to see individuals that look like them, as well as the 80
So, we`ve worked hard to make sure that our city has diversity. We make
sure our police department is connected to the residents of Dellwood. We
have what`s called a citizens academy for the residents there, a way for
the residents to get a better relationship with our officers. Our police
department sponsors many events for our youth.
So, you have to do that kind of work on the front end so when you have an
incident like this, it won`t be as bad for your city.
O`DONNELL: And what is your reaction to the political response that you`ve
heard from Washington? You`ve heard the president speak about this now a
number of times. I`m not talking now about the specific action he`s
ordered at the Justice Department. We`re going to talk about that later in
the show. But his overall -- the president`s overall response to what`s
going on in your area there.
JONES: I think the president has his finger on the pulse. He`s a Midwest
guy. He understands the makeup of what`s going on here in this area.
And it`s not just about Ferguson. There are several communities in this
area that have the makeup that Ferguson has, where you have majority
African-American communities but not African-Americans in leadership.
And I only fault the residents for not voting. You can`t blame a
councilman who wants to be there, and he gets enough votes to get him on
the council. But the council does have -- council and mayor does then have
responsibility to make sure that the city is diverse. So that all
residents can be heard and all residents feel like they`re part of what`s
going on in the city.
O`DONNELL: Mayor Reggie Jones of Dellwood, just next door to Ferguson,
Missouri -- thank you very much for joining us tonight.
JONES: Thank you.
O`DONNELL: Coming up, today`s preliminary autopsy report. Shawn Parcells,
the man who assisted at that autopsy of Michael Brown`s body, will join me
O`DONNELL: The man who assisted at the autopsy commissioned by Michael
Brown`s family will join me to discuss the findings of that autopsy, and
just how they match up or don`t match up with witnesses` testimony so far.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SHAWN PARCELLS, ASSISTED IN AUTOPSY: There was a witness statement that
said that he was walking away and the gun goes off and he kind of jerks.
So, the question asked to us was, could that wound occur from him walking
away and then he turns around? It`s consistent with that.
However, understand too that while the shot could have come from the back,
because if I`m standing here walking along and get shot from that
direction, you see I pull my arm up, it`s in that same general area. The
arm is a very mobile part of your body. So, it also could have occurred
when he was putting his hands up. So I put my hands up and you see where
that wound is at. It could have happened if he put his arms across in a
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Joining me now is Shawn Parcells. He was the pathologist
assistant who worked with Dr. Michael Baden on the autopsy whose
preliminary results were revealed today.
Shawn Parcells, there are a lot of people out there tonight saying, OK,
these preliminary findings are out and we now have conclusive proof that he
was not shot from behind, that he was -- that Michael Brown was facing the
officer for every one of the shoots fired.
What would you say to that?
PARCELLS: Our preliminary results agree with that, other than as I pointed
out at the press conference, this shot to the right forearm could have come
from the back as he`s walking away. But it also could have come from the
front direction if he`s put his hands up, put his hands up in a defensive
position, or even if he`s running at the officer, you can still have that
part of your arm exposed. And that`s why it`s very important that we
understand the events that occurred and be able to piece those together and
look at further evidence, which at this time Dr. Baden and I have not been
able to do.
O`DONNELL: But as you say, the possibility that that arm was shot from
behind is still there, and so there is the possibility -- your findings
don`t rule out in any way that shots were fired at him from behind as he
was running away?
PARCELLS: Correct. At this time, we know for a fact that he was not shot
in his back. When I say his back, I mean his back.
O`DONNELL: Yes, right.
PARCELLS: But a shot from behind hitting the arm at that angle could have
happened. At this point in time, we can`t rule -- we cannot rule that out.
O`DONNELL: I want you to listen to what Tiffany Mitchell said, a witness
to these events, said on this program. Let listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TIFFANY MITCHELL, WITNESS: As I come around the corner, I hear tires
squeaking. And as I get closer I see Michael and the officer like
wrestling through the window. Michael was pushing, like trying to get away
from the officer. The officer`s trying to pull him in.
As I see this I pull out my phone because it just didn`t look right. You
never see an officer and someone just wrestling through the window. So, as
I pull out my phone the first shot was fired through the window. And I
just like tried to get out of the way. It pulled into the parking lot
right beside where the cop car was and that`s when Michael kind of broke
away and started running down the street.
The officer gets out of his vehicle and he pursues him. As he`s following
him he`s shooting at him. And Michael`s body jerks as if he was hit. Then
he turns around, he put his hands up. And the officer continued to walk up
on him and shoot him until he goes all the way down to the ground.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Is there anything in your preliminary findings that contradict
anything that Tiffany Mitchell said?
PARCELLS: No. Actually, not at all. Her statement could be collaborated
with what Dr. Baden and I found, given that shot to the arm could have come
from the back.
I will add that Dr. Baden and I did talk about that and one thing that we
want to be very careful is that Michael Brown could have jerked for two
reasons. One, he could have jerked because he was hit there. Or two, he
could have jerked because any time any of us, I`m sure, would hear a gun go
off unexpectedly, we kind of would jump.
Again, we can`t rule out that the shot came from the back. But we also
can`t rule out the shot came from the front, without being able to look at
further evidence which at this point in time we have not been able to do.
O`DONNELL: And the other thing that you don`t know, none of us know, is
exactly how many shots were fired. Apparently the weapon that was probably
used could fire about a dozen shots. We do know that one of the shots
actually went into someone`s house and that bullet had to be recovered by
police in -- at least one house.
So it may be that as with many shootings by police, most of the bullets
missed. And there could have -- that kind of reaction you`re talking
about, about he hears a shot fired and he physically reacts to hearing a
shot fired, that could have happened many times?
PARCELLS: It could have, yes. One thing I want to stress that really
wasn`t stressed at the press conference is that there`s really two parts to
an autopsy. You have the physical autopsy of the body. Then, you
literally have the autopsy of the crime scene.
And it`s very important that we find out how the crime scene is put back
together. What happened in the car? What processing did they do in the
car? If a gunshot did go off in the car, which direction is that bullet
traveling? The clothing Mr. Brown was wearing, we need to be able to look
We also feed to know what happened after the event that occurred in the car
to the point to where Mr. Brown collapsed on the ground and what is the
distance? What`s the difference -- I`m sorry, the distance between the car
and where he collapsed on the ground?
Those are all key elements to really be able to take that information,
bring it back to what Dr. Baden and I were able to do at the second
autopsy, and really start piecing things together. We may not be able to
ever answer every single question, but we definitely can answer more
questions than what we could today.
O`DONNELL: I think there are some preliminary indications that there was
about 35 feet between the patrol car and where the body was found. That`s
quite a distance to run for Michael Brown, especially since he apparently
already has one bullet in him.
I want to talk about that first shot, which occurred -- according to
witnesses the first shot went off very, very close to the car, with Michael
Brown touching the car. According to the police story, Michael Brown was -
- may have been reaching into the car. But according to Tiffany Mitchell,
his hands were on the car.
Could you determine which of the shots, the wounds you saw, was the first
one that was inflicted on him?
PARCELLS: Unfortunately, that -- no we cannot, especially because we don`t
have the clothing. The clothing is critical because if there was a close-
range shot, you would have evidence of gunshot powder and residue that
would have been filtered out by the clothing and thus when you look at it
on the skin, you may not see that evidence, thus it looks like it`s a
distance wound. We don`t have that information.
But even if we can confirm that one of the shots that entered his body has
gunshot residue over that clothing area, we still can`t confirm without
other pieces of the investigation whether that was the first or the second
shot or something like that.
O`DONNELL: But let me stay on this first shot. If with the clothing and
with all of the assembled evidence, there is no gunshot residue anywhere on
his body or on the clothing, wouldn`t that indicate that the first shot and
all the shots were fired from at least a distance of about 24 inches?
PARCELLS: Correct. Are you talking about the shots that actually hit his
O`DONNELL: Yes, any shots that hit his body. If when the totality of the
evidence is assembled, including ballistics evidence and including the
clothing evidence, if we don`t find the kind of evidence that would be on
the clothing to indicate a proximity of firing, then we would be left with
an evidence package that would seem to indicate all of the shots were fired
from about two feet away or more.
PARCELLS: Correct. And we will not be able to judge the distance -- we
can`t say it was 2 1/2 feet, because a shot at 2 1/2 feed`s going to look
like a shot at 3 1/2 feet.
O`DONNELL: Right. And let`s get to the shot that -- or shots that you
believe were the fatal shots. Describe those shots.
PARCELLS: OK. There was two shots to the head. One entered right above
the right eyebrow. It came out at the right eyebrow. It actually re-
enters around the right eye. It tunnels under the skin and exits here at
the jaw line. And then Dr. Baden and I believe that the -- that same
bullet re-enters the body right here at the right shoulder. There is
another shot to the --
O`DONNELL: Could you just stop on that shot, please? So the angle of the
head in relation to the bullet, the bullet trajectory, in order for that
passage to occur through the body, could you show us with your head what
the angle of the head would have to be as the bullet addressed it?
PARCELLS: Yes. The head would have to be bent over. So it would have to
be like this. And the bullet is coming this direction and hits the head
from the top down.
O`DONNELL: And this is someone who`s 6`3"?
PARCELLS: Correct. Yes, he was a big kid.
O`DONNELL: He`d have to be very far bent over, okay. And then the -- so
something 1/2 put him -- would have put him in that -- feels almost like a
90-degree bend for him to get down to that spot where that could be hit --
the wound possibly that he`d probably had we`re dropping him at that point.
And then, you`re going to describe the second bullet.
PARCELLS: The second bullet to the head was the very top or the apex. And
it entered right at the very top of the head. And it also was going at a
O`DONNELL: And so his head would actually have to be lower, bent lower for
that to have happened?
PARCELLS: Correct. Correct, yes.
O`DONNELL: And it would -- so would it be logical then -- I know we don`t
have all the evidence to make this a fact. But it is entirely possible
that the one that hit lower on the forehead was the first one in that
sequence of two, that was the first one, then as the head lowered some more
there was one that was followed fairly instantly to hit right on the top of
PARCELLS: Correct. That`s very possible.
O`DONNELL: Shawn Parcells, could you stay with us. We need to we`re gone
to a little overtime. I`m going to take I`d love to be able to come back
and just do a little bit more with you.
PARCELLS: Sure, that would be fine.
O`DONNELL: OK. Thank you very much. We`ll be right back with mere with
Shawn Parcells who assisted in that autopsy, the preliminary report of
which was revealed today.
O`DONNELL: We`re back with Shawn Parcells who assisted in the autopsy of
Michael Brown, the one that was reported today.
Shawn Parcells, just want to ask you a quick question about all the
nonfatal bullet wounds that Michael Brown suffered. It sounds in many ways
that some people are making light of these wounds saying like, yes, well,
they wouldn`t stop a big guy. Isn`t it true that any one of those wounds,
a given individual would fall to the ground both in shock and in pain from
just getting any one of those wounds?
PARCELLS: In my opinion, the arm wounds, depending on the circumstances,
the physiological state of the person, adrenaline, any drugs in their
system, anything like that, would determine whether or not they would
continue to charge. The wounds to the arm, while they are not fatal, I
know there have been case studies done on people who have had similar type
wounds and reported not ever knowing they were shot until someone said,
"hey, you`re bleeding, something`s going on." Now, the gunshots to the
head would have definitely stopped him.
O`DONNELL: OK, we`re now joined by Lisa Bloom, NBC legal analyst, Jim
Cavanaugh, NBC law enforcement analyst and retired ATF special agent in
And Shawn, they both have questions for you. I`d like to start with Jim
Cavanaugh. Jim, do you have a question for Shawn Parcells on the autopsy?
JIM CAVANAUGH, NBC LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Just wanted to ask of the arm
wounds, where one you said on the center of the forearm could have been
from behind if he was running, can you say if there`s any others that could
have been from behind, like the one on the palm of his hand, could that
also have been from behind, and can you maybe say that the other higher
ones could only have been from the front? Is there any possible way to
break that down?
PARCELLS: Sure, sure. The one to the upper arm right here is definitely
from the front because it goes in and it actually exits, the exit wound is
back here in the back part of the armpit. Now, the graze wound right here,
the graze wound on this portion and the graze wound here, could have
happened either from the front or from the back. And again, we don`t have
all the evidence put together to really be able to determine that. And we
may not be able to determine that.
CAVANAUGH: Quickly, just Lawrence, if I can, just one more. The wound
above the right nipple, can you determine where that came from? Was that a
fragment or was that a bullet particle that continued through that`s just
above the right nipple?
PARCELLS: Dr. Baden and I believe that that is a possible re-entry wound.
We don`t know which re-entry wound on the arm it could have come from.
That`s why we really want to be able to collaborate our findings with the
first autopsy to say for sure whether or not that is a re-entry wound or if
it`s a wound all by itself. And that`s why this whole time we`ve been
saying he was shot at least six times.
CAVANAUGH: It could have been a re-entry wound -- thank you.
LISA BLOOM, LEGAL ANALYST, TODAY SHOW: Sorry. Mr. Parcells, I`m looking
carefully at this diagram, I know it`s the standard autopsy diagram. But
in fact, as I look at it, it occurs to me that human beings don`t naturally
stand in this position with their palms facing forward. In fact, human
beings tend to stand with their palms sort of facing one another, fingers
down. And when someone`s running, their forearm tends to move back as
people naturally pump their arms when they`re running. And so, it strikes
me that the forearm wound seems most likely to be a shot from behind. Do
you agree with that?
PARCELLS: I would agree with that on the content to say that it is
consistent with coming from behind. But at the same time those same
wounds, OK, I got my arms up and I`m running like this and the shot comes
in from the front, it could have occurred from that direction. Or if I`m
putting my hands up and I have my palms back this way, that graze wound is
going in that same direction. However, just as you`re saying, if I move
that as if, what you`re saying I`m running, my arm`s going back, that graze
wound is in that same trajectory. See how it stays the same?
PARCELLS: So it`s coming from the front, or it`s coming from the back, but
it produces the same injury. Same thing with the forearm gunshot wound.
BLOOM: One thing, Lawrence that we know, human beings do not stand in that
position, right? In that diagram. If you look at anyone on the street
today or tomorrow, you won`t see anyone standing with their palms facing
O`DONNELL: Shawn Parcells, this is the second autopsy performed on this
body. There will be a third. The justice department of the federal
government`s going to do their third. What condition is the body in now
for a third autopsy? There are some experts out there today who have been
saying there`s a certain amount of evidentiary degradation as you move
through a series of autopsies because if each one of you has to adjust the
body in various ways as you`re doing your work.
PARCELLS: That`s very true. The best way to do a second autopsy is as
soon as possible after the first autopsy is done. I know now that the body
is embalmed. Embalming can also mess with the injuries because the
embalmers oftentimes will put certain cosmetics and rebuilding, you know,
like cosmetic wax to cover up the wounds which can also mess with it. And
as you stated, the more people that mess with these wounds -- because when
we look at these wounds we actually use a probe. And we probe the wound to
see the trajectory and the track. Sometimes, you know, if you continue to
probe it you can actually mess with that trajectory and make it into
something that it`s not.
O`DONNELL: And Mr. Parcells, the -- when were you called in to this case?
PARCELLS: I got a phone call from Ben Crump and Anthony Gray, I believe it
was last Wednesday, asking if I would come in to help Dr. Baden and work on
the case with him to give a forensic analysis on the gunshot wounds,
primarily to answer questions for the family.
O`DONNELL: And this report today was your preliminary report. When will
you be releasing a larger or final report?
PARCELLS: Well, I talked with my colleague, Dr. Baden, today. And we
really need to be able to view the first autopsy report and all subsequent
materials with that. That would be the Tox report, the x-rays their
photographs that they took, provably also talk with the pathologist that
did that autopsy, look at the clothing Mr. Brown had on. And then also
look at the witness statements. When I say witness statements I mean the
officer`s statements, not the statement that the friend is giving but the
actual officer`s statement. And also look at credible witnesses that the
legal teams will be able to filter through and find credible witnesses and
look at those. And the reconstruction of the crime scene. And put all
that together, and then we can issue a very detailed final report.
O`DONNELL: And very quickly, what would a ballistician able to add to the
evidence you`ve seen so far?
PARCELLS: I`m sorry, I missed it.
O`DONNELL: How would a ballistics expert be able to help piece together
the evidence we`ve seen so far?
PARCELLS: Well, keep in mind a ballistics expert is different from what we
do. A ballistics expert is going to tell you how a gun works. If bullets
are recovered, they can test fire the weapon and say that the bullet
matches up with that particular weapon. And that`s the primary role of a
ballistics effort. Then also to be able to say if the shell casings came
from an officer`s weapons.
So their input, you know for example, if we find out there are shell
casings that didn`t come from the officer`s weapons -- I`m not saying that
happened, but if that was to come out we`d obviously have a major problem.
But I think the ballistics is going to just really confirm that it was the
officer`s weapon that fired these and past that there`s not much more that
they can offer because our job is to understand the trajectories of these
bullet wounds to the body, and they don`t generally do that.
O`DONNELL: Jim Cavanaugh quickly, before a break, can the ballistics
expert help us with the distance the bullet traveled before it gets to the
CAVANAUGH: No. Really only the medical examiner can tell you that through
the stippling and tattooing, like Shawn said. you know, with the t-shirt
may tell that fact. And when a close shot was, like if it was in the car.
But no, they can`t get a distance. They may get trajectory of a shot that
missed and went into the building and then rely on the medical examiner for
inside the body.
O`DONNELL: Shawn Parcells, thank you very how much for joining us tonight.
I know how pressed you are for time today especially. Really appreciate
it. And also Lisa Bloom and Jim Cavanaugh, thank you for joining me.
BLOOM: Thank you.
CAVANAUGH: Thank you, Lawrence.
PARCELLS: Thank you.
O`DONNELL: We`ll be right back. We`re going to go to Ferguson for the
latest of what`s going on there.
(VIDEO CLIP PLAYING)
O`DONNELL: That is a live shot of the streets of Ferguson, Missouri, at
this moment. We`re going to be back with more straight from the street.
(VIDEO CLIP PLAYING)
O`DONNELL: That is the situation at this moment on the streets of
Ferguson. We`re not sure exactly where that position is.
Joining me now from Ferguson is Amanda Sakuma, writer and homepage editor
for MSNBC.com. What is the situation where you are, Amanda?
AMANDA SAKUMA, WRITER/HOMEPAGE EDITOR, MSNBC.COM: You know, the tone here
is a stark contrast from the violence and chaos that we saw just around
this time last night. We had religious leaders, ministers from the
communities around the area, as well as into Illinois, came and they wanted
to set a good example for the younger generations, they said.
They joined arms and marched down the street singing "we shall overcome."
And I spoke with one of them afterward and he said that there`s just this
generation gap that they hope that they can lead by example and really
bring all of the mainline protests in line here and not let the crowds
become so rowdy.
Now, we shall see if this will be sustained the rest of the evening. There
have been some minor flare-ups here and there but so far everything has
been largely peaceful.
O`DONNELL: OK, Amanda. Let us know what`s going on, we`ll come back to
you if anything develops. Thanks very much for joining us tonight.
Coming up, what Bill O`Reilly said about someone who appeared on this
program last week.
(VIDEO CLIP PLAYING)
O`DONNELL: You`re looking at live images from Ferguson at this moment. We
will come back to that as the situation develops there. We`re going to
take a break. We will be right back.
O`DONNELL: Bill O`Reilly`s on vacation this week but he still found time
to call in to his own show and talk about someone who appeared on this
program last week and call her a liar.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BILL O`REILLY, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: On MSNBC, they put on a woman who said
that Michael Brown was shot in the back. All right? That is a lie. We
now know that because of the autopsy. Was it challenged by MSNBC? No, it
was not. It was put out there as fact.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: A little misquoting there, Bill. This is what Tiffany Mitchell
actually said here.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TIFFANY MITCHELL, EYE WITNESS: He was running away from him.
O`DONNELL: And could you tell --
MITCHELL: His body jerked as if he was hit, that`s whenever he turned
around and faced the officer.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: And here`s how she said it the second time I asked her about
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MITCHELL: He`s shooting at him, and Michael`s body jerks as if he was hit.
Then he turns around, put his hands up, and the officer continued to walk
up on him and shoot him until he goes all the way down to the ground.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: His body jerked like he was hit. Then the second time, she
says, his body jerks as if he`s hit. And you already heard Shaw Parcells,
who worked on the autopsy, say that everything Tiffany Mitchell said is
absolutely consistent with their findings.
Bill O`Reilly had to lie about what she said in order to be so outraged
about it. Bill O`Reilly saying, she said he was shot in the back. She did
not offer an opinion as to whether he was shot in the back or not. But
that`s the kind of stuff that is out there among people who are desperate
to find something to say contrary to what these witnesses are saying.
Joining me now, former New York city police officer Eugene O`Donnell,
professor of law and police studies at John jay college of criminal
Eugene, this is very common, that people think that they have heard a
witness say something that the witness did not actually presume to say.
And then they think they`ve come across some evidence that contradicts
that, therefore, the witness is a liar. This is a very common amateur
reaction to the way evidence is gathered in these kinds of cases, isn`t it?
EUGENE O`DONNELL, FORMER NEW YORK CITY POLICE OFFICER: Yes, liar is a
strong word. If you`ve been in investigative function, you realize a lot
of people say things that are not necessarily accurate. It`s a far stretch
from saying something that you believe or that you misperceived and
actually calling somebody a liar, which really is saying something
intending to deceive somebody.
So we, you know, anybody`s been involved in investigations know in the heat
of these kinds of events, people misperceive or perceive differently. It`s
not unusual for five honest people to give five different accounts. That
does not make them liars.
L. O`DONNELL: Yes. I mean, there are plenty of people there in Ferguson
who have been saying, with absolute confidence prior to today, that he was
shot in the back. But Tiffany Mitchell, this witness, is not one of those
people. She simply said what she observed which is his body jerked like he
was hit. She wasn`t saying he definitely was hit and in the back. She
never even uses the word "back." And we now hear -- see from the first
report from the autopsy that, yes, there were shots that could have been
fired that could have hit him from behind as he was moving.
E. O`DONNELL: Well, if you`re pro-law enforcement, it`s really important
to say, we should be encouraging people to come forward that have
information and not trying to assassinate them out of the gate. People see
things, I mean, people know that there`s campaigns like stop snitching. We
have to create an atmosphere in which people of good faith -- sometimes
people don`t have good faith, sometimes people have malicious reasons. But
we don`t want to close the door to people and say, unless you can
absolutely with certainty substantiate what you`re saying, you`re not
welcome in this police station. We need to keep the door open, recognize -
L. O`DONNELL: Sorry to interrupt, we have to go to Ferguson right now.
We`re joined now by Erin Delmore, MSNBC producer. He is there where you`re
seeing these images come from.
Erin, what`s going on?
ERIN DELMORE, MSNBC PRODUCER (via phone): Lawrence, at the corner of
Ferguson avenue and west fluorescent avenue near McDonald`s. There are a
number of cops lined up. You can see this through my video right now.
They`re standing arm to arm. They have batons. They have their guns.
There are armored vehicles behind them. All of the sirens are going off.
Facing off against them, you can see this now in the crowd. These are the
remainder of people who have received (INAUDIBLE) as some with their hands
up, some on their knees. There are a number of residents here who are
switching (ph) the media and protesters in the side in an effort to solve
the violence here. These police forces have amassed. They look ready to
come in. The journalists put their gas masks on. And much of the crowd
L. O`DONNELL: Erin, how many people would you say are taking that position
DELMORE: Well, I would say that there are about 200 left in the street.
There are a number to the outside of fluorescent avenue. There look to be
more cops, Lawrence. You should know that their staging area is less than
a mile up the road. They`re prepared. They`ve all had their cars there.
And that`s where they have been patiently waiting. Just an hour ago, it
was a peaceful protest, circular movement. The number of people just
moving in a circle around west Florissant avenue, chanting, sigh, turned
L. O`DONNELL: Erin, I think we`re getting your images now. Now, if the
police decide to break this up, would they be breaking it up on the grounds
that these protesters are no longer moving, and the rule is you have to
DELMORE: Lawrence, they have told people to move back, move back.
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