Medical Examiner's Report: James Harper Was Shot By Police In the Chest, Abdomen and Elbow [Updated]

Categories: Crime

James_G_Harper.jpg
James Harper

WFAA is reporting that the Dallas County Medical Examiner's office has just released their report on the fatal police shooting of James Harper, whose death brought hundreds of people out into the streets in protest last week. Many in the crowd believed Harper had been shot in the back.

The report states that Harper was shot three times, producing four wounds: once on the left side of the chest, once on the left elbow, leading to a second exit entrance wound on the lateral left side of the abdomen, and once on the lateral right side of the abdomen. As has been previously noted elsewhere, the cause of death is listed as "homicide," meaning the death was the result of a willful act by someone other than Harper. Update, 3:45 p.m.Harper's body also tested negative for any drugs or alcohol. The autopsy also showed a laceration on his right ear, bruises on his cheeks and forehead, and abrasions to his arms, shoulders, hands, knee and ankles.

We've posted the relevant portions of the report below.

Members of the New Black Panther Party (NBPP) showed up at the Dallas police headquarters this afternoon, asking to speak with Chief David Brown. When it became clear that was not going to happen, they stood outside and spoke to media instead.

Lovell X, the captain of the Panthers, in a black uniform and with a megaphone slung over his shoulder, expressed skepticism about the autopsy report.

"They're gonna hide the real truth," he said. "That's the history of the Dallas police department." He said there were inconsistencies between where the chief originally said Harper had been shot and what the ME report stated (Brown said early reports indicated Harper was shot in the stomach and hand; the report says the shots were in the chest, side of the abdomen, and elbow).

"No one has ever been prosecuted in the history of DPD," the captain said. "We're fed up. That's the bottom line. Every time they come to Dixon Circle, someone dies." They're asking for Office Brian Rowden, who shot Harper, to be indicted and prosecuted.

"[Harper] was unarmed," he added. "They could have Tazed him. Everybody could've been home safe... He might be in jail right now, but he wouldn't be dead."

The NBPP and other community groups are planning a march through the Dixon Circle area, where Harper was shot, on Saturday, August 4. They're supposed to be joined by Fred Hampton Jr., son of the Black Panther who was shot to death by Chicago police in 1969.

New Black Panthers at DPD HQ .jpg


James Harper Gunshot Wounds, ME Report

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48 comments
rufuslevin
rufuslevin

ACCORDING TO ALL THE POSTS HERE, CLEARLY "ME" STANDS FOR "MASTURBATING EMOTIONALS"

rufuslevin
rufuslevin

in the future, police should just use fragmentation grenades to take down fleeing criminals that attacked them...takes the mystery out of who shot where and why......BUT, in the end...DEAD is DEAD, and criminals have ALL been warned BEFORE they do the crimes.

 

Maybe this bullet just homed in on the STUPID part of Harper...you know, the entire body.

1dailyreader
1dailyreader

Who knew Dallas had so many detectives and ME's.

1morereason2carry
1morereason2carry

So let me see if I have this right:

 

Obama voters don't want people to be able to defend themselves against criminals

 

Obama voters don't want the cops to be able to defend themselves or anyone else against criminals

 

What conclusion are we left to draw here?

trudat
trudat

In the Medical Examiners (ME) report; of the four wounds, the indicated direction of travel for two of the wounding bullets is listed as being back to front. The direction of travel for one of the wounding bullets is not listed.  The direction of travel for another of the wounding bullets is listed as being from front to back.

It seems that given the history of the ME and the controversial nature of this report, if there was something that would make the DPD plainly look good and clean, the ME would clearly point that out. However, this report does not make it clear that the cop did the right thing by shooting the suspect.  It looks like the suspect could have been shot in the back even though he was not armed and clearly got the worse of any fight that might have happened.

Running from the police is not a capital crime.  Likewise, phisically fighting the police is not a capital crime.  And if both crimes were capital offenses, it would still not be the job of the police to administer the death penalty. In such cases, the role of the police is to apprehend the criminal...not murder him.

Of course, everyone has the right to defend themselves when they think their life is in danger.  But judging from the ME report, it was the suspect, not the policeman who could've been beaten to death. So that crap about the policeman fearing for his life and therefore having to kill Harper is highly suspect if not actually a lie.

The police version of what happened does not sound too convincing...

If during this incident, a Dallas police officer unjustly beat and shot an unarmed black man in the back, this would not be the first time something like this happened. If something fair and substantial is done about such an injustice, this would certainly be a first.

Craig
Craig

He should not have resisted arrest. I'm not saying this justifies the shooting, but why run? I'm a law abiding citizen and would have loved nothing more than rubbing my innocence in the face of the D.P.D. Horrible tragedy for all involved. And some other rival drug dealer caused this?

 

Juxtapose1
Juxtapose1

If you read the ME Report; Gunshot #4 "The directions of the bullet are back to front..."  So whether or not he was shot "in the back", he was shot from the back.  That means he was moving away from the Officer when he was shot.  

Cowtown
Cowtown

Chief Brown should work out a deal where all 911 calls from Dixon Circle are routed to the New Black Panther Party. Lowell X and his gang could then go and handle the situation as they see fit, with no worry of police brutality.

Juxtapose1
Juxtapose1

According to the report, gunshot wound #1 was located on the left side of the chest, gunshot #2 was located on the “lateral left side of the abdomen, and gunshot #3 was located on the left elbow. Additionally, James Harper was subjected to serious blunt force trauma during his flight from Officer Rowden. According to the report, Harper suffered from fractured and lacerated cartilage of the right ear, purple contusions to the cheek and right ear, a 1/4 inch purple contusion on the left side of the forehead, and a 2 inch horizontal abrasion on the left cheek. All of this confirms that there was some type of struggle during the chase, but puts in doubt the story given by Dallas Police Chief, that Officer Rowden was “beaten in the fight”, and “feared for his life”. Lets remember, lest the DPD have you forget, that Officer Rowden refused medical treatment. In other words, he was not injured.

 

Comparatively, James Harper suffered several major blows to the face and ear, which would have required medical attention, if he was alive to receive it. In addition to this, there are two major discrepancies with the initial report give by the Dallas Police. Chief David Brown stated that Harper was shot in the stomach, and possibly the hand. In reality it was the stomach, elbow, and chest. You can infer that Offier Rowden either didn’t remember how many shots he fired, or lied about it to make the incident seem less violent. In fact, we don’t know how many shots were fired in total, only that three found their mark. This is expected given the close range at which they were fired, and the beating that Harper had apparently taken.

 

The second discrepancy in the Dallas Police’s initial report, was that “windows were heard being broke in the back of the house”, after the AC unit was pushed in through the from window. After a personal inspection of the property at 5613 Bourquin, I can verify that there are no broken windows in the back of the house. In fact the property is completely open, there is no police tape, and the scene of the crime remains the same as the day it happened. Seems like if a serious Internal Affairs investigation were being done, that there would be restricted access to the premises. DPD did take the guns and drugs that were left behind…..Oh and about those drugs. James Harper was clean as a whistle. According to the Medical Examiner’s Toxicology Report, Harper tested negative for all drugs and alcohol. So all that “thug”, “criminal”, “drug dealing” danger to the community, was sober. I wonder if Officer Rowden would be willing to give a blood sample to confirm the same for himself. I bet you don’t hear that in the reports that are coming out.

 

Finally, DPD alleged that shots were fired at the responding Officers, but that seems to have fallen to the wayside. Not only that, but there was no weapon on Harper, nor has any weapon been found that is related to the shooting. In fact, there seems to be no witnesses at all, or the ones that did see anything are not willing to come forward. I wonder why that would be…

What you will hear is that “Harper was not shot in the back”, as if that was some kind of justification for the use of excessive force. Once again I have to state that evading arrest does not justify murder, and a fist fight doesn’t either. Officer Rowden acted unprofessionally, used excessive force, and has continued the race based wave of police shootings in Dallas during 2012.

 

JONs
JONs

 @Anna_Merlan  "No one has ever been prosecuted in the history of DPD," the captain said. Is that true? Did you check that as a fact or just quote him saying it?

1morereason2carry
1morereason2carry

As if this will make any difference to the unwashed, uneducated racist criminals.

Scruffygeist
Scruffygeist

So it's more plausible that many, many people in DPD are lying and covering it up than the possibility that the suspect was actually fighting with the officer? Yeah, sure, whatever you say.

 

Unarmed doesn't equal un-threat, by the way, attention-whoring panther dude.

DanTheMan
DanTheMan

Anna, can you confirm if there were 2 or 3 shots fired?

 

So, according to The Good Revered Wright, not only is there a police conspiracy to not just deceive but outright lie about the initial 911 call, but now the goddamn ME is fabricating medical evidence! Simply to sully the reputation of a good kid who was simply dealing a lil' weed. Oh yeah, the police are lying about the crack and guns they found in the house too. 

 

 

AdrianColumbo
AdrianColumbo

If the FIRST shot hit the back of his elbow and spun him around.....

jerikjonsson
jerikjonsson

JS, NOW you can say he deserved to get killed.  See?  Just had to wait a few days.

trudat
trudat

 @1dailyreader

 ...and we should have more...it's every citizens' responsibility to investigate for themselves and form their own opinions about the job being done by those who claim to serve the public...and after forming that opinion, it should be discussed with other citizens...No one should ever accept what is being said by the corporate media on face value.   

kubrickisgod
kubrickisgod

 @1morereason2carry You are not very good at constructing tautological arguments because you think straw men and red herrings are a good way to win an argument.

rufuslevin
rufuslevin

 @Juxtapose1 maybe he just twisted from one of the other shots...trying to get away....tough stuff...DEAD is DEAD

rubbercow
rubbercow

@Juxtapose1 You mean "back and to the left, back-and to -the - left"?

RTGolden
RTGolden

 @Juxtapose1 Just to play devil's advocate, because I have no idea what really happened on the ground (like everyone else on this board):

 

What if this was the order of events:

 

Suspect is returning to assault officer.  Officer fires shot #1 into left chest of suspect. Gunshot wound #1.

 

Suspect turning away from initial shot as shot #2 is fired, exposing his right side to entry. Gunshot wound #3.

 

Suspect continues to turn, somewhat aided by the impact of shot #2, and is hit in left elbow, back to front by the 3rd shot, (wound #4) which then enters the suspects left side at a slightly back to front angle (wound #2).

 

Probably not an accurate account of the events, but since we're all just wildly speculating here, why not?

RTGolden
RTGolden

 @Juxtapose1 Gunshot wound #4.  There were only 3 gunshots.  Also, we don't know the order of the shots, was the "front to back" shot before or after the back to front shot?  Also, it states 'slightly back to front', which could be an honest assessment or an attempt to paint it in a better light for the officer; it's too ambiguous to be sure.  Was the suspect turned by a previous shot?  Was he turning to flee after a previous shot?  Was this the first gunshot and was the suspect turning to resume assaulting the officer?  Why is the front to back shot the only one with gsr on the suspect?  Was the front to back shot the first shot fired because the officer knew he was going to be assaulted again, or was it a final shot?

 

The ME report does not clarify the situation on the ground as succinctly as you purport it to.  If anything, it raises more questions than it answers.

Anna_Merlan
Anna_Merlan

 @Juxtapose1 You're correct that I didn't mention the lacerations to his face, ear, and arm. I'll edit the post accordingly. Thanks.  

Anna_Merlan
Anna_Merlan

 @JONs That's a good point. I was only able to find one example of a DPD officer being indicted and prosecuted for the killing of a civilian. It happened in 1973, when Officer Darrell Cain shot and killed 12-year-old shoplifting suspect Santos Rodriguez.  There may be others I'm unaware of. So it is quite rare, but obviously Lovell X's statement was hyperbole, and I should have noted that.  http://www.redorbit.com/news/politics/463741/recalling_protest_over_73_slaying_dallas_after_police_killed_12yearold/

rufuslevin
rufuslevin

 @Scruffygeist DO I TRUST THE NEIGHBORHOOD HOMMIES MORE THAN THE DALLAS POLICE......NOT A CHANCE.....IT IS THEIR CULTURE TO LIE AND MAKE SOMEONE ELSE RESPONSIBLE FOR ALL BAD THINGS THAT THEY BRING ON THEMSELVES.  DEAD IS GOOD SOMETIMES.

Anna_Merlan
Anna_Merlan

 @DanTheMan ME report indicates there were four wounds, one of which was an exit wound. So it looks like he was hit three times. That's how I read it. 

Tim.Covington
Tim.Covington

 @AdrianColumbo Please study some basic physics and not base your opinions on what you see in the movies. If the pistol imparted enough energy to the bullet to spin someone around, it would also spin the officer.

JimSX
JimSX topcommenter

 @jerikjonsson I think the argument on your side was that he had a right to be a parolee, he had a right to be drug dealer, he had a right to be present at  a drug house, he had a right to maybe be the one who grabbed a gun when he ran, he had a right to try to beat up the cop, he had a right to flee, he had a right to beat up the cop some more, but, by God, he didn't deserve to die. And I can see it. Some of it. He also had a right to be in the ballet. But sometimes we have to go with what happens.

1dailyreader
1dailyreader

 @trudat I don't believe public opinion means too much when it comes to second guessing the authorities.  Yes, it's every citizens responsibility to get the facts but in the end, it always seems that our opinions don't count too much.

NoGasDrilling
NoGasDrilling

 @RTGolden Unfortunately we will never know the sequence of the shots fired.  All we do know is that one entered from "back to front", and is then assumed to have entered the body.  That is why there are 4 Gunshot Wounds, but only three gunshots.  

Daniel
Daniel

Well and reasonably stated RT, but I have to admit, the report makes me less inclined to believe the police's version of events than I was before.

scottindallas
scottindallas topcommenter

 @rufuslevin the cops regularly lie and make someone else responsible for all bad things that they bring on themselves

devildog943
devildog943

I think Adrian was beiong facetious/sarcastic in her(?) comment. Apparently it went high over your head...

prestidigination
prestidigination

@Tim.Covington

Your physics are missing some important details.

1. Discharging a firearm produces shock on your arm which is mitigated by the collapsing of the elbow and shifting of the shoulder. This shock absorption is why you don’t break your wrist when you fire.

2. When discharging a firearm, you are prepared for the shot. Being prepared for a shot greatly reduces body movement caused by recoil.

3. Firearms are not shot forward facing with no left arm / right arm bias. In other words, the shooter has the gun lined up on their own lateral center of mass.

4.Being nudged in the elbow can make you spin if you are un-prepared for the impact.

5. Natural instinct when injured is to pull the wounded limb to the body. This, coupled with the momentum from the shot could easily spin a person.

 

I’m not saying that the shot spun the suspect. I’m just saying that a shot could spin the person being shot without spinning the shooter.

 

As a test, pull the slug from a shell of your favorite gun. Replace the slug with some paper wadding. Hold the gun pointing away from you but relax your arm as much as possible. Fire the gun. You may notice that with a relaxed arm, the movement caused by firing is significant.

jerikjonsson
jerikjonsson

 @JimSX I don't have a side, and my main gripe with you is that you don't understand the protection of life standard Dallas, and all other reasonably humane cities, use for their deadly force policies.  Forgive me if I have oversimplified your position, but I believe you wrote that people who fight with cops give the cops a right to kill them.  It's not true nor should it be.

trudat
trudat

 @1dailyreader

 So true...they never give much respect to "our" opinions unless "we" make our presence known.  That usually means disturbing the peace.  But the first step is finding the truth and depending on the corporate media like the Dallas Morning News to tell us the truth is (too often) just asking too much.

imagepimp
imagepimp

@prestidigination: True enough, but if you read the excerpt from the path report, you may notice that you have three entry wounds to the trunk (right and left abdomen; left chest) and an entrance-exit track through the left elbow. The elbow was an intermediate target (probably because he instinctively threw his arm up in a defensive posture when he realized he was about to get shot OR had taken previously taken another shot). The projectile struck and passed though, started tumbling  and then entered the left abdomen (i.e., re-entrance wound). Not trying to be overly argumentative and pick a fight here, but this makes a more sense if you assume all entrances along the anterior of the body and no exits to the posterior (i.e., there is not some vast conspiracy involving the DPD, the DCME, and the DCDA). Word.

 

Another quick thing: even though this guy was not the most upstanding member of society, that doesn't make his death any less tragic or a waste. That said, fighting with a cop is about the dumbest thing anyone can do. When those guys draw a weapon and discharge it, they are trained to shoot to kill, not wound, mainly because it is a helluva lot easier to hit a big target (torso) than a small one (leg), especially in a situation like this. The lesson big here is don't fight with the police. Ever.

 

Lastly, @AnnaMerlan: you have a typo in the article, second paragraph. "...leading to a second ENTRANCE wound in the left abdomen..."

 

And now, I go back to work.

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