Could Release of Michael Brown Photos Provoke Violence?

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Solidarity march for Michael Brown in Ferguson. Photo by Fibonacci Blue via Flickr


Attorneys for the police and prosecutor that oversaw the investigation of Michael Brown’s 2014 death in Ferguson asked a judge to consider blocking the release of “grisly” photographs of the black 18-year-old’s body to his family’s attorneys, worried they could prompt violence if leaked, says the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

The St. Louis County counselor’s office filed that request Tuesday with a federal judge presiding over the wrongful-death lawsuit filed by Brown’s parents. U.S. District Judge E. Richard Webber had rejected a separate request by Brown’s mother to broaden who can see sensitive grand jury details related to her son’s death.

An attorney for the county’s prosecutor and police department said the photographs of Brown dead on the street, during his autopsy and in the morgue could rekindle the violence that accompanied protests of Brown’s death.

“These particular grisly images evoke a visceral reaction which may provoke unbridled violence,” Linda Wasserman wrote, asking Webber to vet the photos privately. “The disturbing impact of the photographic images could cause the simmering cauldron of emotions associated with this matter to quickly reach the boiling point.” Webber had agreed to let no more than two attorneys for each of Brown’s parents and for the defense see testimony and the names of witnesses from the secret St. Louis County proceedings involving Brown’s death.


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