KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- 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.