The fact that Missouri authorities left Michael Brown’s body on the street for four hours last month in Ferguson, Mo., continues to provoke outrage a month later, says the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Politicians, pastors, police chiefs and picket lines all have criticized the delay. They shot a black man, and they left his body in the street to let you all know this could be you,” says Ferguson resident Alexis Torregrossa, 21. “To set an example, that's how I see it.” To determine why the body remained on the street for hours, the Post-Dispatch analyzed public records, police testimony, medical examiner procedures and data from previous crime scenes, and interviewed medical examiner staff, police officials, and local residents.
The basic story was that Ferguson turned the case over to the St. Louis County Police Department, which was occupied with a crisis at a hospital 30 miles away. There are absolutes in police work, said County Police Chief Jon Belmar: Protect the crime scene. Investigate thoroughly. “What would we have gained by taking pictures of Mr. Brown's body and simply getting him out of there as fast as we could?” Belmar asked. “… It might have moved (the timeline) up an hour and a half.” Or would that have left the grand jury — convening now on this case — without the benefit of a thorough crime scene investigation? “It really is a double-edged sword,” Belmar said.