FORT LAUDERDALE – While the Broward Sheriff’s Office (BSO) reviews evidence pertaining to Oral Brown’s fatal 2001 encounter with deputies and firefighters, an attorney for the victim’s family is stepping up his own investigation of the businessman’s death.
Attorney Michael Winer requested and got copies of slides made from brain tissue extracted during Brown’s autopsy. He was also able to view crime scene photographs from the site of the accident at the Swap Shop flea market in Fort Lauderdale.
Winer said he picked up the slides from the Medical Examiner’s office and BSO allowed him to view the photographs.
None the 35 or so crime scene photographs BSO showed him were of Brown, only aerial views and photographs of his SUV which had flipped and turned over during his one-car accident, Winer said.
Given the “large crowd” of people and numerous police officers, firefighters, paramedics and other emergency response personnel present, Winer said, he was surprised that there were no images showing Brown.
“I was shocked because I know that the sheriff’s office is conducting a thorough investigation and I don’t see how they can do it without photographs of the scene,” he said.
Newly elected Sheriff Scott Israel, in keeping with a campaign promise to review the Brown case, has ordered another look at the evidence to determine whether there is merit in doing so.
Winer said he is still hoping to get video of the incident and scene from BSO. “It is inconceivable that they didn’t take photos and videos of Mr. Brown and how they took him down,” he said.
Brown died while in the custody of deputies and paramedics. The official reason for his death was given as suffocation. First responders said he turned belligerent when he was extracted from his vehicle and had to be forcibly subdued. He was hog-tied and strapped face down on a stretcher and taken to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
His family has filed a wrongful death lawsuit which has kept the incident in the courts 12 years after it happened.
The photographs which Winer viewed and what they depict will be weighed against the information that was provided in sworn testimony taken from Broward County first responders in depositions.
In his statement in 2005, Fire Rescue Lt. Ken Swan said that his colleagues Kenneth Loukinnen and Hayes Bowen, along with BSO deputies, “took (Brown) down to restrain him.” BSO Deputy Leonard Smith in his deposition named the deputies as Kenneth Autenrieb, Willie Dowe, Sgt. Todd Chase and himself.
Loukinen, in his 2004 deposition, added Karl Froling to the list of “Broward County Fire Rescue personnel (that)were involved in the restraint” of Brown. Asked during the deposition about the motivation behind restraining Brown, who, Swan said, did not try to “punch” or “kick” deputies or Fire Rescue personnel, Loukinen said it was “because (Brown) wasn’t acting appropriately.” Loukinen added that Brown “was acting more like a diabetic in distress.”