A Shelby County medical examiner released the results of their autopsy of Walmart shoplifting suspect George Golden and said his April 5 death is a homicide.
Golden suffered possible police excessive force after an officer shot him during a scuffle in the store's parking lot on Austin Peay the evening of March 27.
The medical examiner's conclusion said Mr. Golden didn't die from a gunshot wound to his chest during his arrest. They ruled his death was a homicide caused by a cutoff of oxygen to the brain suffered during an altercation with Memphis Police officers after his arrest for alleged shoplifting.
In the wake of the medical examiner's findings, the Shelby County District Attorney's Office now have Officers Leon Dickson and Kimberly Houston under the microscope.
In seven police-involved fatal shootings in 2013, the media nor the public have ever seen any surveillance tapes or videos of the incidents. But, a passerby's cellphone video aired by FOX13 NEws has provided graphic insight into police involvement in the death of Mr. Golden.
It was the shocking cellphone video of the police beat down that shocked Memphians and brought tears to the anguished daughter of Mr. Golden three months ago.
"That's not something you're suppose to do," said Kelsey Golden, the victim's daughter, in March. "If he was already shot, why would you do that?"
Now that FOX13 News exclusive video taken by a passerby could prove key in an investigation by the Shelby County District Attorney's Office opened Wednesday into the actions of Officers Dickson and Houston, who have been on paid leave since the late-March incident.
The spokesperson for the DA's office said they will review evidence involving Officer Dickson, who shot Mr. Golden in the chest, and Officer Houston, who is shown in the video stomping and then kicking Mr. Golden while he was on the ground after being arrested for alleged shoplifting.
Though Police Director Toney Armstrong was not available for comment on Wednesday, at the time, when asked if excessive force had been used, Director Armstrong backed the actions of his officers.
"According to the officers this escalated to an area where it became physical, and during that physical altercation they felt their lives were in danger," Director Armstrong said in early April.
But in ruling the 42-year-old's death a homicide, the medical examiner stresses the altercation with police played a major role in a chain reaction of medical malfunctions for victim. In a summary of the findings, the autopsy says while Mr. Golden was resuscitated en route to the hospital, he was determined to have sustained an anoxic brain injury, cutting off oxygen to the brain.
The autopsy concluded the gunshot wound by itself wasn't life threatening but, combined with the stress of the physical altercation with police and some cocaine intoxication already in Mr. Golden's body, was.
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