FREE AUTOPSIES FOR POLICE-RELATED DEATHS:
The objective of the Autopsy Initiative (“Initiative”) is to provide a second autopsy free-of-charge for victims’ families who have lost their loved ones due to a police-related death. The services offered through the Initiative include the completion of a second autopsy, disclosure of preliminary findings, and issuance of the final autopsy report.
A police-related death occurs when an individual is harmed by police officers while using deadly force which results in the individual’s death. A police-related death includes in-custody deaths. In-custody deaths include deaths that arise during contact with law enforcement officers during arrest, pursuit, booking, transport, or incarceration. Therefore, pre-custody deaths are included within in-custody deaths.
Our Initiative includes a team of board-certified pathologists. Our board-certified pathologists will work objectively, efficiently and, diligently while relying on established forensic principles when conducting the second autopsy. Our pathologists will actively seek the truth to provide the victims' families with the most medically sound cause of death.
The Autopsy Request may be completed by anyone with a close relationship with the victim, which may include the victim’s spouse, partner, relative, close friend, or lawyer. However, only the victim’s legal representative and/or other authorized individuals can legally authorize the autopsy.
An autopsy is conducted by a forensic pathologist to determine the victim’s cause of death. Therefore, autopsies reveal critical information including observations and findings indicating the manner in which a victim died. The victim’s first autopsy is conducted by the coroner or medical examiner in the state where the death occurred. When a police-related death is involved, various concerns may arise including the reliability of the first autopsy conducted, the objectivity of the autopsy, the risk of manipulation of evidence, potential bias on behalf of the coroner or medical examiner, or use of faulty forensic procedures.
The Initiative is aware that losing a family member due to police-related death is a tragic and heartbreaking experience. The Initiative seeks to be a resource to victims’ family members by providing confidence in the forensic procedures and comfort in knowing the pathologists will conduct the autopsy with neutrality. Our board-certified pathologists are highly experienced and respected in their field and dedicated to uncovering the truth about the victim’s cause of death.
Click here to view our panel of board-certified pathologists.