The New York Times explores why the body of Michael Brown was left where he died–face down, with blood streaming from his head–for four hours in the summer sun on Aug. 9. Residents of Ferguson, Mo., were horrified by the gruesome scene. Many say that the image of Brown's corpse in the open set the scene for what would become a combustible worldwide story of police tactics and race in America.
“The delay helped fuel the outrage,” said Patricia Bynes, a committeewoman in Ferguson. Officials say a combination of factors, some under police control and some not, contributed to the time lapse in removing his body. The St. Louis County Police Department had officers on the scene quickly, but its homicide detectives were not called until about 40 minutes after the shooting. It was another hour before an investigator from the medical examiner's office arrived. And officials were contending with what they described as “sheer chaos” at the scene, where people frequently stepped inside the yellow tape, hindering investigators. Gunshots were heard at the scene, further disrupting the officers' work.