Lubbock County Medical Examiner Addresses Amarillo Allegations - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

9/15/08

Lubbock County Medical Examiner Addresses Amarillo Allegations

Dr. Thomas Beaver Dr. Thomas Beaver
Source: Potter Co. Sheriff Source: Potter Co. Sheriff

Lubbock's medical examiner tells NewsChannel 11 his side of the story.

Dr. Thomas Beaver performed an autopsy on 33-year-old Michael Lee Dick, who died in July, while in custody at the Potter County Jail in Amarillo.  The preliminary autopsy showed Dick died of internal damage that led to an infection, and not by external bruises he had all over his body.

Michael Dick's family attorney Jeff Blackburn says Beaver is not willing to share information with their pathologist, who they hired to conduct a second autopsy. "You know this young man died many weeks ago so far there is no death certificate.  There is no closure for them because Dr. Beaver has refused to do an autopsy report which is inexplicable.  If he stands by his findings he needs to put them in writing so that the world can see them instead of snipping at lawyers and people who would dare question his judgment," said Blackburn. 

Dr. Thomas Beaver says he has done hundreds of autopsies for in custody deaths, and says it's not uncommon for there to be controversy, but says the allegations he is not being cooperative is far from the truth. 

The Lubbock County Medical Examiner says he has been accused of covering up evidence in order to protect Potter County Officials. "I'm not employed by Potter County they don't write the check to me, they don't pay me any money and furthermore, Texas Tech isn't going to be doing this anymore. I'm not even going to be in this state in six months so I can't think of why I would have any dog in this fight," said Beaver. 

Dick died in custody in the Potter County Jail.  Beaver performed the initial autopsy.  Blackburn says the medical examiner is not forth coming with evidence he was asked to provide. Beaver disagrees. "For someone to assert that we did not provide the tissues that were requested is not true and for someone to assert that we are covering something up is absolutely not true because my invitation still exists for any pathologist to come and look at anything we have," said Beaver.   

Beaver says Blackburn is making a big deal of this for personal gain.  "Blackburn is just using the media to create more controversy and hysteria and he's using (the media) to get more zeros on his paycheck, so be advised that you are being used," said Beaver.

Blackburn says this isn't a lawsuit, but simply him working to help the family get answers.

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