AP) – A private forensic pathologist who performed an autopsy on Michael Brown will testify before the grand jury deciding whether to charge the Ferguson police officer who shot him, the attorney for Brown’s parents said Wednesday.
Attorney Benjamin Crump confirmed that former New York City Chief Medical Examiner Dr. Michael Baden is scheduled to testify Thursday. A spokesman for St. Louis County prosecutor Bob McCulloch declined comment. Messages seeking comment were left with Baden.
Crump said Brown’s parents are pleased Baden will testify, but skeptical about the process.
“Their reaction was that they want the jury to hear from an independent witness not associated or controlled by the police department,” Crump said. “They feel that all the local authorities are going to work together to try to exonerate the killer of their child.”
Brown’s parents were in Geneva, where the U.N. Committee Against Torture is hearing testimony this week about U.S. policies.
“It’s very important for the family, making a powerful step toward justice,” Michael Brown Sr. said at a press conference there. “We need your help. That’s why we’re here.”
The younger Brown was shot in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson on Aug. 9 after Officer Darren Wilson, who is white, ordered Brown, who was black, and a friend to stop walking in the street.
The shooting of the unarmed 18-year-old led to sometimes-violent protests and the St. Louis region is bracing for renewed unrest once the grand jury decision is announced. Activists want Wilson charged with murder, but the grand jury could choose manslaughter or no charges at all.
At a press conference Wednesday, St. Louis County Executive Charlie Dooley acknowledged significant anxiety in the region as the announcement approaches and urged people to remain calm.
“Take a deep breath, stand back and calm down,” he said.
Tension has been fueled by leaks suggesting the grand jury, which has been meeting since Aug. 20, has already made a decision. McCulloch on Monday called the leaks “rank speculation” and said the grand jury was still hearing evidence. A decision is expected this month.