San Francisco, CA – Controversial anti-police former National Football League (NFL) quarterback Colin Kaepernick has launched an initiative to provide free second-opinion autopsies for anyone whose death was “police-related.”
The “Autopsy Initiative” will be offered through Kaepernick’s “Know Your Rights Camp” organization and will be available at no charge to anyone with a “close relationship” to somebody who died in connection with law enforcement, NPR reported.
The group said it defined police-related deaths as “those that occur when an individual is harmed by police officers while using deadly force which results in the individual’s death. A police-related death includes in-custody deaths. In-custody deaths include deaths that arise during contact with law enforcement officers during arrest, pursuit, booking, transport, or incarceration,” according to Newsweek.
Kaepernick’s group has said that anyone who has a close relationship to the “victim” could request the secondary autopsy by a board-certified pathologist, including a spouse, partner, relative, close friend, or attorney.
After the autopsy, the pathologist would disclose the preliminary findings and then provide the final autopsy reports to family of the person who died, NPR reported.
“We know that the prison industrial complex, which includes police and policing, strives to protect and serve its interests at all costs,” Kaepernick said. “The Autopsy Initiative is one important step toward ensuring that family members have access to accurate and forensically verifiable information about the cause of death of their loved one in their time of need.”
The organization said “the goal of the initiative is to eliminate concerns about reliability and objectivity of the first autopsy conducted, the risk of manipulation of evidence, and potential bias on behalf of the coroner or medical examiner and/or the use of faulty forensic procedures, ESPN reported.
Pathology coordinator Dr. Cyril Wecht said he was enthusiastic about the program.
“The opportunity to have unbiased second autopsies performed by independent, experienced forensic pathologists in police-related deaths will provide victims’ families with knowledge that the true facts of any such case have been thoroughly analyzed and prepared for appropriate utilization whenever deemed necessary,” Wecht said.
Kaepernick, 32, hasn’t played since the 2016 season when he quit the NFL after starting the trend of kneeling during the National Anthem, ESPN reported.
The former professional football player, who was once the league’s second-highest-paid quarterback, claimed when he started kneeling during the National Anthem that it was to protest police brutality against minorities.
Kaepernick then incorporated the flag into his protest. “I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color,” Kaepernick said at the time.
He later went on to criticize the Betsy Ross Flag and the U.S. killing of a terrorist leader, suggesting it was racist.