The establishment press's performance in Ferguson has certainly been disgraceful, especially its role in turning one local death into a national obsession.
One element of that buildup involves Shawn Parcells, one of two men hired by the family of Michael Brown, the 18 year-old man who was killed in an altercation with Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson in early August, to look into his death. The press, including CNN in an interview seen here, has reported much of what Parcells has claimed throughout the case with little if any skepticism, permanently poisoning the well with non-factual and doubt-inducing information feeding the left's insatiable desire for proof of incurable racism in law enforcement and America in general.
In a Thanksgiving afternoon report ("Is 'professor' who helped with Michael Brown autopsy who he says he is?"), CNN's Elizabeth Cohen and Matthew Stucker pretended to break news that Parcells, who has at various time claimed to be a doctor, a professor, and a pathologist, is really none of those things, and has frequently made untrue statements.
The problem with these alleged discoveries by CNN is that much of Parcells' slippery nature was exposed months ago, and then virtually ignored.
Shannon O'Brien at Kansas City TV station Fox 4 News revealed enough information about Parcells as a man whose acquaintance with the truth is only passing in nature on August 19, over three months ago:
Here's the TV station's related print report found at the same link (presented in full for fair use and discussion purposes; bolds are mine throughout this post):
Shawn Parcells’ credentials, role in Michael Brown autopsy questioned by doctors
A Kansas City man is now front and center in the controversial shooting death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo. Shawn Parcells owns a company that provides autopsy services, and some in the forensic community are taking issue with his involvement in this or any other case.
Parcells owns National Forensic Autopsy and Recovery Services. He says lawyers for the family of Michael Brown contacted him because of his expertise in gunshot wounds.
“I am a forensic pathologist assistant and medical investigator,” Parcells told FOX 4’s Shannon O’Brien.
However, that’s something of a dubious title according to forensic pathologist Dr. Erik Mitchell.
“That is a degree that does not exist in my knowledge, except in the mind of Shawn Parcells,” Dr. Mitchell said.
Dr. Mitchell takes issue with Parcells’ title.
“You cannot claim the title, because it is a formal, licensable position. You can assist somebody; in this way I can say, for instance, I have paid my taxes, so I am an assistant President of the United States,” Dr. Mitchell said.
Parcells admits he has no certification as a pathology assistant, but says his qualification comes from experience.
“I worked there as a forensic assistant for about a year. And if I remember correctly that was 2005 to 2006. That was under Dr. Young,” Parcells said.
That’s Dr. Thomas Young, the former Jackson County Medical Examiner.
“And that’s honestly where I gained a lot of my experience,” Parcells said.
Parcells says his training began in 1997 when he interned with Dr. Young, until he was hired in the mid-2000’s.
Dr. Young responded with this statement:
“Shawn hung out at the Jackson County Medical Examiner’s office but was not trained by me.”…. “He has been representing himself in a way that is not appropriate by giving forensic pathology opinions when he is not qualified to do so.”
“He has none of the qualifications that are required. He has experience as a morgue technician, somebody who would move bodies around, clean up after an autopsy,” Dr. Mitchell said.
Parcells says he has detractors because of a competitive system.
“A lot of this was started because I have competitors who I was taking business from. And the coroners, also, is a very political system. It’s buddy-buddy, who’s your buddy?” Parcells said.
Dr. Mitchell doesn’t agree.
“Jealousy has nothing to do with the issue with Parcells. Parcells is practicing medicine without a license,” he said.
Parcells says he and Dr. Baden are offering their services for free to the Brown family. Only their travel and related expenses are being paid for.
The Topeka Capital-Journal also reported doubts about Parcells on August 21, with Mitchell expressing a particularly harsh take:
Topeka native plays key role in autopsy in Ferguson shooting
... Helping take some of the media requests off (former chief medical examiner for the city of New York Michael) Baden’s shoulders has thrust Parcells into the national limelight, and that hasn’t come without controversy. Having his name thrust into the national media has resurrected questions from one year ago into whether Parcells was performing autopsies without a medical license, which is illegal in the state of Missouri.
One of the loudest voices against him has been former Shawnee County coroner Erik Mitchell, who currently performs autopsies with Frontier Forensics in Kansas City.
“If (Parcells) tells me the sun is coming up, I check with an independent authority before confirming in results,” Mitchell said Thursday. “I trust absolutely nothing that comes from him.”
But many national establishment press outlets had no qualms about relaying Parcells' various claims throughout the case:
(Associated Press, Oct. 23)
Expert: Autopsy doesn’t show if Brown went for gun
Michael Brown’s official autopsy indicates he was shot in the hand at close range during a struggle, but a medical examiner not involved in the investigation says there’s no way to conclude whether the injury meant the unarmed 18-year-old was trying to grab the gun of the officer who killed him.
... But forensic pathologist Shawn Parcells, who assisted Baden, told the AP there is no forensic evidence to verify whether Brown was surrendering or moving aggressively toward Wilson.
“He could have been charging the officer. He could have been walking toward the officer. He could have been standing still. He could have been stumbling,” Parcells said. “I don’t know if we’ll ever know.”
(USA Today, Sept. 11)
New witnesses to Ferguson shooting come forward
... A private autopsy showed that all but one of his gunshot wounds came while Brown was facing Wilson. Shawn Parcells, who participated in the autopsy, said one of the wounds to the arm could have occurred when Brown was facing away from Wilson. "It's inconclusive," he told the Post-Dispatch. St. Louis County and federal autopsy results have not been released.
(Picture caption at Associated Press, Aug. 18, published before questions about Parcells appeared but never corrected or revised; the underlying AP report indicates no attempt by AP to investigate Parcells' credentials)
Forensic pathologist Shawn Parcells speaks during a news conference to share preliminary results of a second autopsy done on Michael Brown Monday, Aug. 18, 2014, in St. Louis County, Mo.
New York Times, November 24
Part of a preliminary private autopsy report by Dr. Michael M. Baden and Prof. Shawn L. Parcells, a pathologist assistant who assisted Dr. Baden, showing wounds on Mr. Brown’s body.
The Times describes Parcells as a "Prof.," as in "Professor." Its original August 18 report referred to "Professor Parcells." The late-arriving pair of CNN reporters noted earlier had the following to say on that:
On his LinkedIn page and to CNN, Parcells said he's an adjunct professor at Washburn University in Topeka, Kansas -- but a spokeswoman for the university told CNN that's not true.
"(Parcells) is not now and has never been a member of the Washburn University faculty," university spokeswoman Michaela Saunders wrote in an email to CNN, adding that at one point, Parcells spoke without receiving pay to two groups of nursing students about the role of a pathologist's assistant and gave a PowerPoint presentation and answered students' questions.
Three days after CNN's report, it would seem that the Times has no interest in correcting its obvious error.
Parcells' current LinkedIn.com profile indicates that he's not budging from his proven-false claims.
Here is a really telling take on Parcells and his role in the multi-month media frenzy from the Kansas City Star in late August:
Local pathology assistant Shawn Parcells is at the heart of the Ferguson storm
Parcells — who is not a doctor but owns an Overland Park autopsy service — assisted in Brown’s private autopsy Aug. 17 and spoke at length at the nationally televised news conference the following day.
Since then, he has become one of the very few people at the heart of the Ferguson story willing to pick up the phone when a reporter calls.
Case in point: Parcells, 35, interrupted a recent conversation four times to speak with cable news producers, each hoping to push him beyond the information that he and Michael Baden, a forensic pathologist and former chief medical examiner for New York City, provided at the news conference.
... Lawyers representing Brown’s parents asked Baden and Parcells, owner of National Forensic Autopsy & Tissue Recovery Services, to perform a second autopsy after St. Louis County performed the initial examination.
Why did so many big names in news take Shawn Parcells' qualifications and claims at face value? In addition to the apparent lack of interest in communicating anything negative about Brown, the Brown family, and those who associated with them, the last cited item would indicate that it's because he was at least sometimes telling them what they wanted to hear.
Cross-posted at BizzyBlog.com.