'The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell' for Wednesday, October 22nd, 2014
Read the transcript to the Wednesday show
THE LAST WORD WITH LAWRENCE O`DONNELL
October 22, 2014
Guest: Chloe Fedio, Tony Clement, John McKay, Susan Crabtree, Shawn
Parcells, Judy Melinek
LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, MSNBC HOST: You know, I got my new driver`s license
today. And my driver`s license picture is not as good as Mike Hubbard`s
mug shot. That is pretty nice.
RACHEL MADDOW, TRMS HOST: Politicians actually get training in how to take
their mug shots now.
O`DONNELL: It looks like he did. That`s right.
MADDOW: Sign of the times. Thanks, man.
O`DONNELL: Thanks, Rachel.
Well, tonight, we`re going to cover what the official autopsy of Michael
Brown does and most importantly does not tell us about the killing of
Michael Brown by Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson.
But, of course, the barricades have been lifted across Ottawa after a man
shot and killed a soldier and caused a lockdown of parliament.
ANNOUNCER: This is an NBC News special report.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Terror in Canada`s capital.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Breaking news, at least two people shot.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Today is a sad and tragic day for our city and our
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A soldier was shot outside the war memorial.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There`s a man with a rifle shooting at a bunch of
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He ran up the side of this building here and hijacked a
car at gun point, and headed that direction towards the construction.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: More shots fired near the parliament building.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I hear this pop, pop, pop.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The doors are locked. I`m here alone just watching the
entire thing unfold in front of me.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: To think someone actually got in the building with a
gun is very, very disturbing.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The gunman killed in that exchange of fire.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: His name, Michael Zehaf-Bibeau, a common Algerian
surname he`s believed to have taken on his conversion to Islam.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think the targets significant.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Increased concern about ISIS-inspired terrorism in
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: When it comes to dealing
with terrorist activity --
STEPHEN HARPER, PRIME MINISTER OF CANADA: We will not be intimidated.
Canada will never be intimidated.
OBAMA: Canada and the United States has to be in entirely in sync.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is kind of a day that changes everything.
O`DONNELL: Corporal Nathan Cirillo was standing guard this morning at the
National War Memorial in Ottawa, Canada, when he was shot by a gun who
witnesses said was carrying a long gun. Paramedics performed CPR on the
24-year-old reservist and father. Corporal Cirillo was pronounced dead at
After killing Corporal Cirillo, the gunman made his way to the nearby
parliament building about 400 yards away, and open fired once again.
(VIDEO CLIP PLAYS)
O`DONNELL: The gunman was shot and killed inside the parliament building
reportedly by the sergeant-at-arms. The gunman was identified as 32-year-
old Michael Joseph Hall, who changed his name to Michael Zehaf-Bibeau when
he converted to Islam. He had multiple run-ins with the law, dating back
to December of 2004 for charges ranging from drug position, to an arrest
for an assault and robbery in British Columbia.
According to "The Vancouver Sun", so far, no group has taken responsible
for the attack which is the second one this week against a Canadian
soldier. On Monday, a 25-year-old recent Muslim convert hit two Canadian
soldiers with a car, killing one. Yesterday, officials raised Canada`s
threat level from low to medium.
Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper said this tonight.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HARPER: Fellow Canadians, in the days to come, we will learn more about
the terrorists and any accomplices he may have had. But this week`s events
are a grim reminder that Canada is not immune to the types of terrorist
attacks we have seen elsewhere around the world.
But let there be no misunderstanding, we will not be intimidated. Canada
will never be intimidated.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: This afternoon, President Obama said this --
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: It emphasizes to the degree we have to remain vigilant when it
comes to dealing with these acts of senseless violence or terrorism. And I
pledge, as always, to make sure that our national security teams are
coordinating very closely and given not only Canada, one of our closest
allies in the world, but they`re our neighbors and our friends. And it`s,
you know, very important, I think, for us to recognize that when it comes
to dealing with terrorist activity, that Canada and the United States has
to be entirely in sync. We have in the past. I`m confident we will
continue to do so in the future.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Joining me now, Chloe Fedio, a journalist for CBC Ottawa.
Chloe, were you one of the people who was locked down today? Because the
lockdown extended beyond just the parliament building.
CHLOE FEDIO, CBC OTTAWA: That`s right. For a long portion of the day,
actually about ten hours, a lot of downtown Ottawa was in lockdown. Ottawa
police and RCMP encouraged people to stay indoors, and we were getting
internal e-mails telling us we couldn`t leave.
And, of course, reporters who were out reporting on what was happening
couldn`t get back into the building. And so, they were out for a long
time, eventually got back in. So, around 8:30 the lockdown was lifted for
our building, and then shortly after that for parliament. Although some
streets are still in the perimeter that police and RCMP are investigating
O`DONNELL: And how quickly is information developed on the case and the
issue of did this shooter act alone?
FEDIO: Well, there was a confusion, especially earlier in the day. Of
course, the shooter that was killed in the parliament building that
happened earlier in the day, but police continued the lockdown, said they
were searching for suspects, then later saying they hadn`t ruled out the
possibility that there was a suspect, but hadn`t confirmed that there was
another suspect either.
So, a lot of confusion surrounding that. And, of course, there was also
confusion surrounding where the shootings had actually occurred. We knew
there was one at the National War Memorial and we knew it happened at
parliament as well, unclear whether it was the same shooter for a long part
But there were also reports that there were shootings at the Rideau Centre,
police confirmed that to us, and then later said that didn`t happen. So, a
large police presence at the Rideau Center, which is a shopping center not
far from Parliament Hill, or the National War Memorial.
O`DONNELL: What can Ottawa expect to wake up to tomorrow? And what will
happen at the parliament building tomorrow?
FEDIO: It seems as though, they`re going to return to business as usual.
It`s a long day for a lot of people obviously, being in lockdown for so
many hours. Some people in rooms secluded without much to eat or anything
like that. So, probably a little difficult day for a lot of people. But
it seems as though we want to move forward and it seems as though, Prime
Minister Harper has been saying, you know, we`re not going to back down,
we`re not going to be intimidated and we`re not going to let this, you
know, stop us from going on with our daily lives as we go into tomorrow, I
O`DONNELL: Chloe Fedio, thank you very much for joining us tonight.
FEDIO: You`re welcome.
O`DONNELL: Joining me now, two members of the Canadian parliament, John
McKay, and by phone, Tony Clement, who spent the day in lockdown.
Tony Clement, this day under lockdown, how did it begin for you and when
did you finally know it was over?
HON. TONY CLEMENT, MEMBER OF PARLIAMENT, CANADA (via telephone): Well, of
course, Wednesday is caucus day for the main political party`s caucuses.
So the conservative party, the government party, we were having our caucus
in our usual room and the prime minister was addressing caucus as he does
every week on the main issues of the day. And we just heard two large
bangs or booms.
And at first, because there`s a lot of construction going on on Parliament
Hill, I thought it was a couple of sheets of metal or something that
crashed. Then we heard the rat-a-tat-tat of very gunfire. And that`s
right outside our door. And that`s when we knew that this was not the
So, the first thing to do was to get the prime minister out of there,
secure his safety. And then two things happened. Some of us escaped and
barricaded ourselves in various offices that we can find. And others
barricaded themselves inside the caucus room until it was safe to come out.
O`DONNELL: John McKay, do we have any confirmation about how many shots
were fired inside the parliament building?
HON. JOHN MCKAY, MEMBER OF PARLIAMENT, CANADA: No, I`m somewhat more
removed than Tony was at the time. I`m down a floor and a little bit
further to the west. All I can is what I heard, which was a number of
boom-boom-booms, and like Tony I thought this was just construction.
And then the security people came rushing towards our caucus room and
hustled everybody out the door. And so, we all went out the door and
huddled in the back of the parliament buildings, and then construction
workers suggested to us that it`s probably not a good idea to stand around
huddling. You should stand behind something. So, we went and stood behind
some monuments so that we had some protection in the event that some extra
shooting might occur.
But it really didn`t strike us as -- you didn`t really know what was going
on until you skirted the perimeter of parliament and then got out on to
Wellington Street and saw the massive response on the part of the police
and other security services.
O`DONNELL: Tony Clement, what will happen in the parliament building
CLEMENT: Well, I think you eve heard reporting that the prime minister
wants to as much as humanly possible that we return to business as usual.
That would mean there would be a sitting of parliament, that
parliamentarians would gather to debate laws and in some cases vote on
I`m a candidate member as well and I fully intend to proceed with a
treasury board meeting that I had previously scheduled for tomorrow.
So, I think it is important that we show Canadians and show the world and
show the good guys and show the bad guys that this kind of action will not
be met by just us sort of somehow curling into a ball and changing our
daily routine. And I believe that that`s going to be an important message
to Canadians, as well as to the people that want to disrupt Canada`s life.
O`DONNELL: John McKay, one of the things that we in the United States have
done consistently, after such threatening experience is dramatically
increase the physical security around government buildings, put up barrier,
make it more difficult to get into those, have access to those buildings.
Do you expect Ottawa to react in that way?
MCKAY: Well, I expect that there will be some reaction. I don`t know what
the reaction will be. I`d like to get my facts ahead of my conclusions.
And so, I`m sure over the next number of days, those who are responsible
for our security will review our security in minute detail. The $64
question that keeps on getting asked is how could this possibly have
And if you knew the physical outlay and the physical structure and what
this shooter had to get through in order to be able to get to where he got,
it does ask a lot of very fundamental questions. So, I expect that we will
have a very, very thorough review.
O`DONNELL: Tony Clement and John McKay, thank you very much for joining me
CLEMENT: Thank you.
O`DONNELL: Coming up, the White House was already on high alert after the
shooting in Canada, and then tonight, someone jumped over the White House
fence again. That`s next.
And later, the St. Louis County grand jury investigating the killing of
Michael Brown is leaking more every day. We now have the official St.
Louis County autopsy report that`s been leaked and speculation has been
running wild in the media about what that report means.
And in another report from a single anonymous source in "The St. Louis
Post-Dispatch" reads as if Officer Darren Wilson`s lawyer dictated his
version of why he killed Michael Brown to that newspaper. But "The St.
Louis Post-Dispatch" would never take dictation from a criminal defense
lawyer. Would they?
O`DONNELL: Since most professional hockey players in America are, of
course, Canadians. Tonight, in Pittsburgh, Penguins versus Flyers game
appropriately begun this way.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ladies and gentlemen, tonight, our thoughts and prayers
are with our friends in Ottawa and across Canada. Please join us with the
singing of "O Canada."
(SINGING "O CANADA")
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: We have breaking news from the White House tonight. During the
Canadian parliament`s lockdown in Ottawa tonight, the White House had to be
locked down for 90 minutes. A man once again jumped a fence on the White
House North Lawn this evening. The man identified as 23-year-old Dominic
Adesanya of Bel Air, Maryland, allegedly scaled the north lawn fence before
a canine unit caught him.
You can hear the Secret Service officers yelling at the man to get on the
ground in this video.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: The suspect kicked one dog before another dog stopped him. He
was taken into custody by uniform Secret Service officers. This is the
first breach over the White House fence since September 19th when Omar
Gonzalez scaled the fence, ran across the North Lawn, got all the way into
the East Room of the White House carrying a knife.
Joining me now, Susan Crabtree, White House correspondent for "The
Washington Examiner". She was near the White House at the time of the
So, Susan, here we go again. But what`s striking to me this time is Secret
Service apparently performed flawlessly.
SUSAN CRABTREE, THE WASHINGTON EXAMINER: That`s right. This was a
triumphant moment for the Secret Service. It`s a great dog bites man story
for them, after a string of embarrassments and breaches that were very
serious, led to Julia Pierson, the then-director`s, resignation October
1st. Now we have a very triumphant moment for the Secret Service on a very
tragic day for Ottawa and Canada, and one in which the president of the
United States, President Barack Obama, expressed solitude with Canada and
very heart felt concerns about terrorism in this country as well.
O`DONNELL: And, Susan, this kind of thing happened routinely in the past,
and this is exactly the way it was supposed to happen. They were only
supposed to be able to get a couple of steps. And if the first dog doesn`t
stop you, the second dog will. And the second dog is gone to be very mad
about what you did to the first dog.
But how far from the fence did he get? Do we know how many steps he
managed to get across that lawn?
CRABTREE: I`m told 10 to 15 feet, which is phenomenal.
O`DONNELL: Yes, but that`s about the standard. That`s about as far as you
should be able to get before they completely close down on you.
CRABTREE: That`s right. These two canine dogs, I believe they were
leaving the White House. There had two white vehicles that left and they
were barking in the back of the vehicle. I believe they were the canine
heroes of the night.
They also said they were going to a vet because they were injured in the
takedown, but yet Dominic Adesanya, the culprit, the alleged culprit in
this case, was also on his way to the hospital.
O`DONNELL: Susan Crabtree, thank you very much for joining us tonight.
CRABTREE: Thank you for having me.
O`DONNELL: Coming up, the most detailed account of what Officer Darren
Wilson told the grand jury in the investigation of the fatal shooting of
Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, has leaked to the press. And we have
that. And how Darren Wilson`s account compares to the official medical
examiner`s report, which has also been leaked from the investigation.
O`DONNELL: Today, a federal jury in Washington convicted four former
Blackwater security guards in the 2007 shootings and killings of dozens of
unarmed Iraqi civilians. Seven years ago, the four Blackwater employees
fired guns and grenades into a traffic circle in Baghdad, killing 14
unarmed Iraqis and wounding 17. They said they were ambushed and acted in
self-defense, but the prosecution said they fired recklessly and out of
The jury convicted Nicholas A. Slatten of murder, Paul A. Slough of 13
counts of manslaughter and 17 counts of attempted manslaughter. Evan S.
Liberty of eight counts of manslaughter and 12 counts of attempted man
slaughter. And Dustin Heard of six counts of manslaughter and 11 counts of
Jurors also convicted MR. Slough, Liberty and Heard of using military
firearms while committing a felony. Nicholas Slatten faces a mandatory
sentence of life in prison, the other three faces a mandatory minimum
sentence of 30 years in prison. The judge ordered the men incarcerated
immediately. Defense attorneys said they will appeal.
Up next, the official autopsy report on the police killing of Michael Brown
has been leaked. Does it show that Officer Darren Wilson acted recklessly
and out of control on that street in Ferguson, Missouri, the way the
Blackwater security guards did in Baghdad? That`s next.
O`DONNELL: The St. Louis grand jury grand jury is leaking more and more
every day. "The St. Louis Post-Dispatch" has become the primary recipient
of the biggest leaks of the week, beginning with the official St. Louis
County autopsy of Michael Brown, which was posted on the newspaper`s Web
site late last night. And then followed today by an article that the post
dispatch calls, quote, the most detailed account of Officer Darren Wilson`s
version of the August 9th event, which reads, as if dictated by Officer
Wilson`s criminal defense lawyer.
The official autopsy appears to be consistent with the autopsy commissioned
by Michael Brown`s family, which was made public eight weeks ago. One
minor difference is that the official autopsy, which was the first of the
three autopsies conducted, was able to determine that one of the bullets
that hit Michael Brown was fired at close range.
"The St. Louis Post-Dispatch" submitted the autopsy report to two
pathologists who are not involved in the case for their interpretations.
The St. Louis medical examiner, Michael Graham, who is not part of the
official investigation told the newspaper that the official autopsy report,
quote, "does support that there was a significant altercation at the car."
That is, of course, something that every witness says they observed. That
is not in dispute.
Dr. Judy Melinek, assistant clinical professor of pathology at the
University of California-San Francisco Medical Center told "The St. Louis
Post Dispatch" that the official autopsy report, quote, "supports the fact
that this guy is reaching for the gun. If he has gunpowder particulate
material in the wound." She added, "If he has his hand near the gun when
it goes off, he`s going for the officer`s gun."
That quote was picked up by "The Washington Post" today, which ran it under
the headline, "Evidence supports officer`s account of shooting in
"The St. Louis Post-Dispatch" relied on Dr. Melinek to give three
paragraphs of material, supporting Officer Wilson`s version without
actually quoting her. Melinek also said the autopsy did not support
witnesses who have claimed Brown was shot while running away from Wilson or
with his hands up. She said Brown was facing Wilson when Brown took a shot
to the forehead, two shots to the chest and a shot to the upper right arm.
The wound to the top of Brown`s head would indicate he was falling forward
or in a lunging position toward the shooter. The shot was instantly fatal.
A sixth shot that hit the forearm and traveled from the back of the arm to
the inner arm, which means Brown`s palms could not have been facing Wilson,
as some witnesses have said, Melinek said that trajectory shows Brown
probably was not taking a standard surrender position with arms above the
shoulders and palms out when he was hit, she said.
But, did she actually say that? Joining me now is Dr. Judy Melinek,
forensic pathologist and author of "The New York Times" best seller
"Working Stiff." Doctor, thank you very much for joining us tonight. I
really appreciate, and, you know, when I read your quotes in the "St. Louis
Post-Dispatch" I was really shocked to see how far your statements and
suppositions went beyond the actual facts as presented in the official
And then I read the written statement that you gave, you also gave to the
"St. Louis Post-Dispatch," which I agree with completely, every word, not
one word of which was actually used by the newspaper. And I just want to
give you one example. In your written statement, you say, this is from
your written statement, I`m quoting, "You can`t say with reasonable
certainty that his hands were up based on the autopsy findings alone."
DR. JUDY MELINEK, FORENSIC PATHOLOGIST, AUTHOR "WORKING STIFF": That is
O`DONNELL: And of course you can`t say with reasonable certainty that his
hands were down, or his hands were up based on the autopsy findings. But
in the "St. Louis Post-Dispatch," they try to lean on you to say
conclusively that he could not possibly have had his hands up.
MELINEK: Well, what happens sometimes is when you get interviewed and you
have a long conversation with journalists, they`re going to take things out
of context. And I made it very clear that we only have partial information
here. We don`t have the scene information. We don`t have the police
investigation. We don`t have all the witness statements. And you can`t
interpret autopsy findings in a vacuum. You need to take them in the
context of the scene investigation.
So, even with that in mind, there are some findings that we have here in
the autopsy report which match up to the officer`s statement. So that we
can say but, again, it`s an incomplete picture. There may be other
witnesses who saw something that are also consistent with these findings.
We have to hear their statements.
O`DONNELL: I have to tell you, as far as I can tell, the autopsy matches
both the police account as we now know it, and the eyewitnesses` account as
we now know it which is very common in these things. The part where
there`s the big gap is once they`re out of the car. And that`s a situation
where the autopsy becomes less helpful in terms of exactly what was going
on at that point.
But, let me give you another example from the "St. Louis Post-Dispatch"
article. It quotes you saying that Michael Brown is reaching for the gun.
Now, just because his hands have blood on them. Now, my hand can be very
close to a gun that you fire without me necessarily reaching for the gun.
I could be asleep and you can fire a gun near my unmoving hand and it
doesn`t mean I was reaching for a gun.
What is beyond dispute on the basis of this evidence is these two people
were in very, very close contact with each other, but there is absolutely
nothing that I see in that autopsy that indicates that Michael Brown was
trying to touch that gun, or grab that gun, or take it away from that
MELINEK: So, the issue at hand is primarily pertaining to a wound that`s on
MELINEK: And if you look at the diagram that was in the second autopsy, and
you then compare that to what`s in the first autopsy, the injury on the
right hand is actually going up the thumb. So it`s going from the point of
the thumb this way, which means that if this is the gun, the hand is
pointing in the direction of the gun. The thumb is going in the direction
in order for that to line up, okay?
So that would be consistent with the officer`s statement that Brown was
reaching for the gun. Now, that said, as you pointed out -
O`DONNELL: Yes, I agree with the (inaudible).
MELINEK: You can have the hand passively there in the same location.
O`DONNELL: No, it is, it is consistent. I think what`s getting mistaken
here is a phrase like that, which you`re absolutely right. It`s consistent
with that possibility. It is also consistent with other possibilities.
And what happens to the media, the press is, they take you saying it`s
consistent with that possibility as proof that that`s exactly what Michael
Brown was doing with his hands.
There were a total of 12 bullets fired, six of them we know about, six of
them hitting his body. But there is absolutely nothing that the autopsy
can possibly tell us about the bullets that missed Michael Brown, isn`t
MELINEK: That`s why you need the additional scene information. The
position of the officer, the distance of the officer, from Mr. Brown, are
there any strike marks on surrounding vehicles, or buildings, or the
ground. That`s the information that`s missing. That`s why I said you
can`t interpret this in a vacuum. You have to look at the statements and
look at the injuries on the body and see whether they match up or not.
And one thing we can say is that when you have got an injury that`s going
up the thumb this way, that corresponds with the gun being in line with it,
it`s not consistent with this kind of posture, because if my hands are up
like this, then to get that gun shot wound on the thumb, the officer has to
be above me in the ceiling, okay? That doesn`t match.
O`DONNELL: Right, now, Doctor, now, Doctor - -
MELINEK: So, you can match the injuries - yes?
O`DONNELL: Now, if you keep your hands up like that.
O`DONNELL: And if I fire four bullets at you, and I miss you with those
four bullets, there will be no evidence in an autopsy report that I fired
bullets at you while your hands were up, will there?
MELINEK: No, there won`t, absolutely right. You need to look at the other
ancillary data. How many casings are there, how many strike marks are
they, where are they located?
MELINEK: So, you can`t tell that from what missed his body.
O`DONNELL: And also, the issue of Michael Brown running away from Officer
Wilson. We know that Michael Brown ran away from Officer Wilson. All the
witnesses say that he did, and the autopsy report that you read says that
he did because it contains a little description of the police version of
what happened. And in the police version of what happened, Michael Brown
runs away from him. And it is entirely possible that some of the bullets
that Officer Wilson fired at him, that missed him, were fired at him from
behind while he was running away. Isn`t that possible?
MELINEK: There`s no strike marks on his back.
O`DONNELL: I said bullets that missed him. This is important, Doctor.
MELINEK: That missed him, okay. That`s what I`m trying to understand.
O`DONNELL: You have to concentrate on this, okay? This is really important
because half of the bullets missed him, okay?
MELINEK: That`s correct.
O`DONNELL: And so eyewitnesses, eyewitnesses who say when he was running
away, Officer Wilson shot him. What they don`t -- what an eyewitness
doesn`t know, and you know an eyewitness doesn`t know this because you`re
the medical examiner, eyewitnesses, when they see bullets fired at a
person, they don`t know exactly which bullets hit the person and which
bullets missed the person.
So these eyewitnesses may very well have seen this officer shooting at him
from behind, with his back to him while he was running away, and what the
evidence shows is that all of those bullets, if fired that way, missed
MELINEK: Again, the evidence is just what`s on the body for me, but I don`t
have the scene information and I don`t have all the witness statements.
But you`re right.
MELINEK: If he missed while Michael Brown`s running away, then that
evidence is not going to be on the body, it`s going to be at the scene.
O`DONNELL: And Officer Wilson claims that, you know, I think when you get
into the part that is the most difficult in determining exactly what
happened is when you`re actually inside the car, because there you have
testimony that says, who says he grabbed him and tried to pull him inside
the car. But without any doubt, there was some kind of confrontation at
the car, and there was a decision to shoot in the car.
That`s a completely separate decision, and a totally different threat level
to what occurs once the officer is outside of the car. Because once the
officer is outside of the car, there`s a great distance between them, as
we`ve seen from photographs of the scene where Michael Brown`s body was
found ,at a very significant distance from the police officer`s car.
And so, the decisions to fire the shots that killed him, all of those
decisions were made outside of the car, when Michael Brown was at a
significant distance from him, including that final shot that goes into the
top of his head, which may be the final shot, which killed him. Do you
have any indication from this autopsy report how far away the officer was
when he shot and killed Michael Brown?
MELINEK: You can`t comment based on the autopsy report to the distance.
They`re distance-range wounds, what means they`re outside of 24, 30 inches,
and then anything more than that, you can`t tell the difference between a
wound that`s five feet away from a wound that`s 20 feet away.
O`DONNELL: But it`s a big deal in this case, because if he`s 35 feet away
and the officer claims, you know, he started to come at me with five
bullets already in him, he started to come at me, what we know is there
wasn`t a threat there. There wasn`t a reason to then fire a shot to kill
him in the top of the head. And just a final point, Doctor, Michael Brown
is 6`4. He`s very tall. For him to get shot in the top of the head, up at
the top of the hairline, how far down would he have to be bent over in
order to be shot in the top of the head and have that bullet trajectory,
which is very important, Doctor, as you know. The bullet trajectory, when
it enters his head, goes straight down in his head. So how far would he
have to be bent over to be shot in the head that way?
MELINEK: I can`t answer that question without knowing the height of the
weapon. So, in order to do a trajectory analysis, you need to know at what
height the officer was holding his weapon and do the triangulation that
O`DONNELL: We have varying information as to his height, but he was not 6`4
like Michael Brown. Let`s call him six feet, that means his weapon is a
foot, at least, below that, at shoulder level. Let`s call it five feet off
the ground. How does five feet off the ground gun held with two hands this
way, how does it get a straight down trajectory in the skull of someone
who`s 6`4, how far over would that 6`4 person have to bend?
MELINEK: They`d have to just basically bend their neck forward and lean a
little bit, it`s not a tremendous amount. It depends also on the angle
that the gun is being held at. If it`s held somewhat upwards versus
downwards that could effect things. You can`t really answer those
O`DONNELL: I think you have to be careful there. I don`t want to tell you,
Doctor, that you`re wrong, but if the gun, if that gun were to be held
aimed up, then you would not find the trajectory going straight down
through the skull. Remember, Doctor, the trajectory inside the skull
tells us the angle of that bullet`s travel better than any other
information we have. Better than what anyone says the way they were
holding a gun.
MELINEK: It tells us, but it`s a relative direction. Remember, the skull
is movable and the head is movable. And for every angle adjustment made by
the officer, you have to have a corresponding angle adjustment by the
victim in order to get the right trajectory. So, to do the analysis that
you`re requesting, it needs to be done with those measurements in mind.
MELINEK: And I can`t just come up with an answer off the top of my head,
because that would be unprofessional.
O`DONNELL: I agree with you, I get it.
MELINEK: I need to be able to analyze it with the data.
MELINEK: And that`s what`s important in this case. You have to have the
data. We don`t have the data from the scene right now.
MELINEK: We have just a snipet, which is the autopsy report. And to come
to conclusions, such as how quickly those bullets went in, how fast they
were fired, even what the distance is, we don`t have that data right now.
O`DONNELL: Right. And, I mean, wouldn`t you say that running headlines
saying that the autopsy report based on all the inadequacies that you just
outlined in the autopsy report, and all of the mysteries that it leaves
sitting there, that running headlines saying the autopsy report supports
the officer`s account is extremely misleading?
MELINEK: Well, it supports the officer`s account of what happened inside
the vehicle with regards to the hand being lined up with the gun. It`s not
that that - - that gun shot on the hand lines up with the gun. It`s not the
entire story. Okay.
O`DONNELL: Not to belabor it, Doctor, we just established that it doesn`t.
Doctor, we just established that it doesn`t. You know what I mean? That`s
the part that it doesn`t establish. Quickly, before you go, the
"Washington Post" using your quotes today without, I think, talking to you,
right? They just used your quotes from the other newspaper?
MELINEK: Yes, they did.
O`DONNELL: In that same article, they said that the amount of marijuana
found in Michael Brown was enough to produce hallucinations. Do you agree
MELINEK: I think that the amount of marijuana is highly individual. It
depends on his tolerance level and what his exposure or history was. So,
it could, in some people, cause hallucinations. It could in some people
alter their perception, or judgment, or reaction time. But we`d need to
know a little bit more about his usage history in order to interpret that.
O`DONNEL: Okay, Dr. Judy Melinek, the author of the book "Working Stiff."
Thank you very, very much for joining us tonight, Doctor. Really
Coming up, Shawn Parcells, who assisted in the autopsy conducted by Dr.
Michael Baden at the request of Michael Brown`s family, we`ll get his
reaction to the St. Louis County official autopsy report. And breaking news
from the Department of Justice. The Department of Justice has just reacted
to leaks in the grand jury case.
O`DONNELL: "The St. Louis Post-Dispatch" reporter, Robert Patrick, posted
an article on : "The St. Louis Post-Dispatch" website today with the
headline `Source: Darren Wilson says Michael Brown kept charging at him.`
In the first sentence of the article, reporter Robert Patrick, identifies
his source as, quote, a source with knowledge of his statements. That is,
of course, the statements of officer Darren Wilson.
There are only two possible sources for this article. One, is a prosecutor
involved in presenting evidence to the grand jury. That prosecutor would
be aware of all of officer Wilson`s statements, including any statements he
might have made outside of the grand jury room as a witness. The other
possible source who would have knowledge of Darren Wilson`s statements is,
of course, Darren Wilson`s criminal defense lawyer.
A spokesman for the district attorney`s office told "The Washington Post,"
our office is not responsible for these leaks. Darren Wilson`s lawyer,
James P. Towey Jr., did not return "The Washington Post"`s call seeking a
comment. And very tellingly, if you know the conventions of modern
journalism and unnamed sources, there is absolutely no reference to Darren
Wilson`s lawyer or the fact that he even has a lawyer in "The St. Louis
Post-Dispatch" article. That`s how much unnamed sources are protected in
leak-based articles like this.
It is hard to imagine a more irresponsible entry into the journalistic
record of the Michael Brown case than an entire article attributed to only
one unnamed source, who is actually the lawyer for the police officer who
shot and killed Michael Brown. Now, I think there would be nothing wrong
with "The St. Louis Post-Dispatch" printing the very same article and using
Darren Wilson`s lawyer as the source, if it simply identified the lawyer as
the source, or at least identified that the source is a supporter of Darren
Wilson. If, in fact, the source is a supporter of Darren Wilson, which of
course, I don`t know. Right? I mean, I`m just kind of wondering about it.
The unnamed source tells the story of the confrontation at the car in much
greater detail than any previous account.
The article says, during the struggle, Brown handed the cigarillos to
Johnson then swung his left hand and hit Wilson on the right side of the
face. Wilson said he almost lost consciousness, the source said. There is
much detail about the struggle officer Wilson had in firing his gun. And
then the article says, Wilson told investigators he thought the bullet had
struck Brown in the hand, the source said. Broken window glass was
everywhere and blood was on the door, the gun, and Wilson`s hands. At the
time, Wilson said he wasn`t sure whose blood it was.
The struggle continued and Wilson attempted to pull the trigger twice more.
The source said Wilson thought Brown`s hands may have interfered again.
Wilson was able to fire a second shot and Brown ran. The article says that
Wilson got out of the police SUV and chased Michael Brown. Then, Wilson
told investigators Brown began running toward him. Wilson said he had
yelled for Brown to stop, then fired. The source said Brown flinched as if
he was hit, and Wilson said he had stopped shooting, Brown continued
running toward him and Wilson said he had fired several more shots. The
source said that Wilson had recalled that Brown`s head was down when the
last shot hit him there.
And finally, Wilson drove himself to the police station and was taken to
the hospital by other officers. Wilson said he had bruises on the left and
right sides of his face and scratches on his neck, the source said. He had
no broken bones.
And breaking news tonight, "The L.A. Times" reports that the Department of
Justice has condemned the leaks in Ferguson as, quote, irresponsible and
highly troubling and said, there seems to be an inappropriate effort to
influence public opinion about this case. Joining me now, is MSNBC Law
Enforcement Analyst, Jim Cavanaugh, and medical investigator Shawn
Parcells, who assisted in the private autopsy for the family of Michael
Brown. First to you, Shawn Parcells, what`s your reaction to the release
of the official autopsy report?
SHAWN PARCELLS, MEDICAL INVESTIGATOR: My initial reaction when I read
through it today was that it matched up with the findings that Dr. Baden
and I saw at the second autopsy. We also knew, going into that autopsy,
that there was a struggle in the car and that the gun went off at least
once or twice. We weren`t sure. Well, now that`s been confirmed to go off
twice. And as we had said to, to us, all the gunshot wounds appeared to be
from a distance, but we needed more information to confirm that. Such as
seeing the clothing, the first autopsy report, the photos, X-rays, those
sort of things before we could really make any conclusions as to whether or
not all of them came from a distance or if some happened at a close range.
Well, now we know that the gunshot graze wound to the hand right here
happened at a close range in the car.
O`DONNELL: And Shawn, is there anything about that wound that tells you
exactly what Michael Brown was trying to do with that hand when it was
PARCELLS: No, absolutely nothing. And I was listening to you and Dr.
Melnick - Dr. Melinek, and, apologize about that, and I`ve also read other
articles today that people were making the assumption that says, beyond a
shadow of a doubt, that he was reaching for officer Wilson`s gun. He could
have been reaching for the gun, but at the same time, the gun could have
been pointed up towards Michael Brown and it simply goes off and he puts
his hand in that direction where the bullet is coming. It doesn`t
necessarily mean that he was reaching for the gun. It just means that his
hand was in close proximity to that weapon at that trajectory to get the
bullet to go the direction it was going.
O`DONNELL: And Jim Cavanaugh, with the release of the autopsy report now,
with the spin put on it by "the St. Louis Post-Dispatch," which was very
clearly deliberately a spin that was intended to favor officer Wilson.
Then, "the St. Louis Post-Dispatch" follows that up with an article spun
very much to favor Wilson. "The Washington Post" picks that up and says
hey, the evidence supports the officer`s case. The inability of the media
to actually process what this evidence means, as it is revealed and shown
to us, is just on constant display here.
JIM CAVANAUGH, MSNBC LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Well one thing is, the
autopsy, like the Dr. said, Lawrence, you know, it has to be coupled with
the witnesses. And when you put the autopsy with the witnesses we`ve seen
on THE LAST WORD and across the media, you get a much clearer picture of
That fact today, that the thumb was the first shot in the car, I mean, that
tells us the first shot. We know from three or more eyewitnesses that when
Michael Brown ran away, he shuttered and stopped. Three or more
eyewitnesses said that. The doctor has told us in his autopsy that the
only wound, two wounds, that that could have been were the graze wounds,
the thumb or under the arm. So now we know it`s under the arm.
When we couple that autopsy information with those eyewitnesses, the shot
that shuddered Michael Brown was under the arm. Then Michael Brown stops.
Multiple eyewitnesses tell us that. We know he stops, that`s going to be
the distance of the last blood on the street forensically can be looked at.
And he turns, and there`s two shots in the forearm and in the shoulder and
both have a slight upward trajectory.
Now, Michael Brown is 6`4", so if he`s shot in the forearm - now, the
forearms are movable, and the doctor can explain that more, and there`s
probably some other positions that can be shot, but in the upper shoulder,
if the trajectory is going up, you have to be standing upright. So, he`s
standing upright when he`s shot here.
And then the critical point, I think, is Michael Brady. Michael Brady says
when he saw him, he was in a ball. So was he charging before he went into
the ball or was he charging after he went into the ball? So I think
rather, he was staggering and stumbling because the two shots in the chest
and the shot over the eye and in the head were all a downward trajectory.
O`DONNELL: Yeah, there`s absolutely no witnesses to the notion of charging
officer Wilson in this thing, yet. I`m sorry, we have run out of time. I
used too much time on the earlier segment about the autopsy. I`m sorry,
guys. Jim Cavanaugh, Shawn Parcells, thank you very much for joining me
tonight. I really appreciate it. We`ll be right back.
O`DONNELL: That`s it for THE LAST WORD. Chris Hayes is up next.
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