Jessica Hernandez: autopsy of teen killed by police appears to contradict official account.

Autopsy of Teen Killed by Denver Police Appears to Contradict Official Account

Autopsy of Teen Killed by Denver Police Appears to Contradict Official Account

The Slatest
Your News Companion
Feb. 28 2015 10:38 AM

Autopsy of Teen Killed by Denver Police Appears to Contradict Official Account

10422957_879595585394542_7428016392520539333_n_1
Jessica Hernandez.

Facebook / Justice for Jessica Hernandez

The 17-year-old girl who was fatally shot by Denver police officers on Jan. 26 while driving a stolen car suffered four gunshot wounds, according to the autopsy. Two bullets struck Jessica Hernandez through the left side of her chest, which her family has said directly contradicts the claim by cops who say they opened fire when she tried to run them down, reports Reuters. She also had bullet wounds on her thigh and pelvis. Police insist the cops repeatedly told those in the car to exit the vehicle, but a passenger tells the Associated Press that wasn’t the case.

 “The Denver Office of the Medical Examiner has classified the death of Jessica Hernandez as a homicide. The report shows that Jessie was shot from the driver’s side of the car and not from close range. These facts undermine the Denver Police Department’s claim that Jessie was driving at the officers as they shot her,” an attorney representing Hernandez’s family said in a statement. Many have raised questions about Hernandez’s death from the beginning, and thousands signed a petition urging the U.S. Department of Justice to get involved in the investigation, reports Denver’s Fox affiliate.

Advertisement

The AP, however, talks to a retired police chief who cautioned against making definite conclusions from the autopsy report, saying other factors need to be considered. "It's like putting a giant jigsaw puzzle together, and we've got two tiny little pieces right now," Montgomery said. "More are going to start coming into place."

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