“You’re not supposed to shoot so many times”

Dr. Michael M. Baden is the former Chief Medical Examiner for the City of New York. He was hired by the family of Michael Brown, the teen shot by police in Ferguson, Missouri, to provide a private autopsy.  I’m not going to get into the whole sordid mess surrounding the shooting and subsequent unrest in that St. Louis suburb.

The majority of the private autopsy results were released to the New York Times. It appears that Mr. Brown was shot in the front of his body by the Ferguson officer six times. What caught my eye was this statement by Dr. Baden:

“In my capacity as the forensic examiner for the New York State Police, I would say, ‘You’re not supposed to shoot so many times,’ ” said Dr. Baden, who retired from the state police in 2011. “Right now there is too little information to forensically reconstruct the shooting.”

I have always been taught as well as read in reliable sources that you shoot until the threat has been stopped. There is no magic number. Bear in mind that Mr. Brown was reported to be 6’4″ tall and weighed 292 pounds. According to the autopsy, it also appears the first four shots hit Mr. Brown in the arm and not center mass. While that would have hurt like hell, they were not sufficient to stop the threat. (This, of course, presumes that the officer involved perceived Mr. Brown as a deadly threat.)

I think the good doctor needs to reevaluate his statement and remember that there is no magic number when it comes to stopping the threat.