Attorney: Brown family pathologist to testify before grand jury - KMOV.com

Attorney: Brown family pathologist to testify before grand jury

(CNN) -- The pathologist hired by Michael Brown’s family to conduct an autopsy on the Ferguson, Missouri, teenager will testify Thursday before the grand jury that is deciding whether to indict a police officer in Brown’s killing, according to family attorney Anthony Gray.

Dr. Michael Baden, a former New York State Police medical examiner, conducted a second autopsy on the 18-year-old’s body after a local medical examiner performed one.

Though the grand jury has until January to make a decision, the prosecutor’s office has said that an announcement on whether it will indict Ferguson officer Darren Wilson could come as early as mid-November.

There’s intense nervousness in the St. Louis suburb as many residents fear that a repeat of the chaos and violence, and clashes between protesters and police, could happen again. In the days after Brown’s killing, protesters marched in the streets, enraged because they felt the fatal shooting was the result of an excessive use of force by police.

Read: Brown family releases preliminary autopsy results

Witnesses to the shooting say that Brown, an unarmed African-American, had his hands in the air as if he was surrendering when he was shot by Wilson, a white officer. Authorities have said that Brown tussled with Wilson and tried to take the officer’s weapon.

There was also anger when autopsy results from a first procedure were not released, many felt, in a timely fashion.

CNN’s legal experts are offering differing opinions about allowing an expert hired by a party in a case to address a grand jury.

CNN senior legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin said it’s not an unusual move.

“Grand juries often hear a variety of evidence from many different sources,” he said. “Calling this expert is consistent with the prosecutor’s promise to present all the available evidence to the grand jury.”

CNN legal expert and longtime New York attorney Paul Callan, who has presented cases to hundreds of grand juries, said it is highly unusual.

“When a prosecutor says he’s going to present all evidence available, the implication is that he or she is presenting all sorts of objective evidence of non-interested bystanders,” Callan said.

The Brown family pathologist “is someone hired by the family and presumably to support a civil lawsuit for money damages later,” Callan said.

 

It’s not illegal to call someone hired by an interested party, he added, but the police officer’s side may perceive it as unfair. “What would stop the cop’s attorney from asking, ‘Why can’t we do our own autopsy now?’”

 

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