When Ferguson, Mo., police officer Darren Wilson left the scene of the fatal shooting of unarmed teenager Michael Brown, the officer returned to the police station unescorted, washed blood off his hands and placed his recently fired pistol into an evidence bag himself.
Those actions, described in grand jury testimony, violated protocols for handling a crime scene and securing evidence, according to experts in policing procedures and Justice Department documents.
Wilson’s movements after the shooting were among a number of police actions in the aftermath of Brown’s death that experts said were unusual. The grand jury transcripts revealed, for example, that the officers who interviewed Wilson immediately after the shooting did not tape the conversations. The transcripts also showed that an investigator from the medical examiner’s office opted not to take measurements at the crime scene and arrived there believing that what happened between Brown and Wilson was “self-explanatory.’’
It is unclear how these unorthodox practices may have influenced the investigation of a shooting that has triggered a national conversation about race and police practices. The grand jury’s decision Monday not to indict Wilson in connection with the shooting death has led to protests nationwide.
Police and forensic officials have not responded to requests for comment over a two-day period.