Attorneys for slain black Missouri teen to speak on Thursday

FERGUSON, Mo., - Lawyers for the unarmed black teen shot dead by a Missouri police officer on Thursday planned to discuss a private autopsy the teen's family commissioned, as the pathologist who performed it testifies before a grand jury.

A grand jury, meeting in private under standard US procedures, was expected to reach a decision this month on whether to indict Darren Wilson, the white officer who shot and killed 18-year-old Michael Brown in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson in August.

The shooting set off weeks of racially charged protests in the predominantly black city of Ferguson, which has a mostly white police force. Residents and officials are bracing for a possible new wave of unrest if the grand jury decides Wilson should not face a trial on criminal charges.

Brown family attorneys Benjamin Crump and Anthony Gray said they would speak at 9:15 a.m. (1015 EST/1515 GMT) as private pathologist Dr. Michael Baden testifies to the grand jury in Clayton, Missouri.

Witness accounts of the Aug. 9 shooting have conflicted: some described a struggle between Brown and Wilson and others said Brown put his hands up.

Brown was shot at least six times, twice in the head, on a residential street where he lived, according to Baden. Brown's family hired Baden in part to try to determine whether Brown was trying to surrender when he was shot.

The official autopsy determined Brown was shot at close range and at least once in the hand, according to a copy obtained by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

Missouri officials have said they expect the grand jury to reach a decision by late November. Businesses on the Ferguson street that saw the heaviest rioting following the shooting have boarded up their windows.

US Attorney General Eric Holder spoke with Missouri officials on Wednesday about preparations for possible demonstrations. "Going forward, it will be more important than ever that the law enforcement response to the demonstrations always seek to de-escalate tensions and respect the rights of protesters,"Justice Department spokesman Brian Fallon said.

Groups of protesters, some from out of town, have been meeting to discuss what to do if the grand jury does not indict Wilson. "It's OK to be angry, but we want to take that anger and channel it," Reverend Osagyefo Sekou of Boston urged a gathering in St. Louis on Wednesday night.