DOJ orders new autopsy of Michael Brown as Ferguson gets ready for a new curfew.

Federal Autopsy of Michael Brown Ordered as Ferguson Readies for Second Night of Curfew

Federal Autopsy of Michael Brown Ordered as Ferguson Readies for Second Night of Curfew

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Aug. 17 2014 2:48 PM

Federal Autopsy of Michael Brown Ordered as Ferguson Readies for Second Night of Curfew

People wait for reaction from police after they refused to honor the midnight curfew on Sunday morning.

Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images

Attorney General Eric Holder has ordered the Justice Department to conduct its own, independent autopsy of Michael Brown due to the “extraordinary circumstances” surrounding his death. The autopsy, which would be the third on the unarmed teenager’s body, will be carried out by a federal examiner “as soon as possible” and does not invalidate previous autopsies. “Even after it is complete, Justice Department officials still plan to take the state-performed autopsy into account in the course of their investigation,” Justice Department spokesman Brian Fallon said in a statement. Brown's family has also conducted an autopsy.

The decision marks “the latest development showing that federal investigators are conducting a far different probe than that underway by local officials into the shooting,” points out the Los Angeles Times.


News of a new autopsy came as local officers confirmed Ferguson will once again be under curfew tonight from midnight-5 a.m., according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

Hours after police arrested seven people during the curfew, and one person was critically injured when he was shot by another protester, Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon showed up at four Sunday morning talk shows in which he emphasized the federal investigation and criticized the decision of local law enforcement to release a tape that allegedly shows Brown robbing cigars from a convenience store shortly before he was killed.

"I think it had an incendiary effect," Nixon told CBS' Face the Nation. "When you release pictures and you clearly are attempting to besmirch a victim of a shooting, shot down in his own street, a young man, and at the same time you're releasing information ... to tarnish him, then properly, there was a lot of folks that were concerned about that, and I do think it flamed it back up and has caused us to have to deal with some of that."

Nixon insists his office had no idea the video was going to be released. “We were unaware that they were going to release it and we certainly were not happy with that being released,” Nixon said on ABC’s This Week. “Especially in the way that it was it appeared to, you know, cast dispersions on a young man that was gunned down in the street.”

Daniel Politi has been contributing to Slate since 2004 and wrote the Today’s Papers column from 2006 to 2009. Follow him on Twitter.