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Michael Brown's family urges restraint as grand jury weighs charges

The mother, Lesley McSpadden (L) and father, Michael Brown Sr., of slain teenager Michael Brown, hold a news conference in Geneva November 12, 2014.

REUTERS/Denis Balibouse

The parents of Michael Brown are calling on their son's supporters as well as law enforcement to remain "peaceful, calm and dignified" as a grand jury prepares to decide whether to charge the Ferguson police officer who shot the unarmed teenager, the family's attorneys said Thursday.

Benjamin Crump and Anthony Gray held a press conference Thursday outside the St. Louis County Justice Center, and responded to comments made by Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon earlier this week.


"The family reiterates (Nixon's) denouncement of violence, looting and rioting in the name of Michael Brown," Gray said. "Such acts cannot be tolerated."

Crump called on Nixon to ensure that laws are "enforced equally" to avoid a repeat of the violence that erupted over the summer.

"Regardless of the decision of the grand jury, this will be a defining moment in the history of the state of Missouri," Crump said.

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.

Dr. Michael Baden, a private forensic pathologist who performed an autopsy on Brown, was set to testify before the grand jury on Thursday.

Crump said attorneys would not get into the substance of Baden's testimony, except to say he had identified one additional entry wound in Brown's chest. He did not elaborate on what that might mean.

He said the family hoped Baden's testimony would provide "insightful analysis and independent analysis" for the grand jury to consider.