AMERICAN AUTOPSYListen Now
Dr. Michael Baden has been involved in some of the most high-profile civil rights and police brutality cases in US history, from the government’s 1976 re-investigation of the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr., to the 2014 death of Michael Brown, whose case sparked the initial Ferguson protests that grew into the Black Lives Matter movement.
The playbook hasn’t changed since 1979, when Dr. Baden was demoted from his job as New York City’s Chief Medical Examiner after ruling that the death of a Black man in police custody was a homicide.
So in 2020 when the Floyd family, wary of the same system that oversaw Michael Brown’s death, needed a second opinion—Dr. Baden is who they called.
In these pages, Dr. Baden chronicles his six decades on the front lines of the fight for accountability within the legal system—including the long history of medical examiners using a controversial syndrome called excited delirium (a term that shows up in the pathology report for George Floyd) to explain away the deaths of Black and people of color, restrained by police.
In the process, he brings to life the political issues that go on in the wake of often unrecorded fatal police encounters and the standoff between law enforcement and those they are sworn to protect.
Full of behind-the-scenes drama and surprising revelations, American Autopsy is an invigorating—and enraging—read that is both timely and crucial for this turning point in our nation’s history. AMERICAN AUTOPSY: One Medical Examiner's Decades-Long Fight for Racial Justice in a Broken Legal System-Dr. Micheal Baden