Appoint a Special Prosecutor to Investigate the Murder of Michael Brown.
Petition by Jamilah Nasheed
Please SIGN THIS PETITION
The death of Michael Brown at the hands of Ferguson, MO police has stoked tensions and caused unrest across our community, state and nation. This racially charged climate demands an independent, impartial investigation that the St. Louis County Prosecutor’s office simply cannot provide.
There are currently 27,505 signatures. NEW goal – We need 30,000 signatures!
Bob McCulloch must fully recuse himself and his office from the investigation related to the murder of Michael Brown.
McCulloch’s decision not to charge officers who murdered two unarmed African American men in 2000 by shooting into their car 20 times, especially in the face the U.S. Attorney Office’s independent investigation that those officers lied about their actions, gives us no confidence that his office can provide a fair and impartial investigation into this current matter.
That failure, coupled with McCulloch’s recent participation in one of the most racially-polarizing elections in the history of St. Louis County means that his office’s continued oversight of this tragedy will only sow further distrust and discord in our community.
For the good of the entire St. Louis region and the nation as a whole, we call on Robert P. McCulloch to recuse himself and his office from this matter, and appoint a special prosector to investigate the murder of Michael Brown.
20,000 sign petitions seeking special prosecutor in Michael Brown shooting
Organizers said Sunday that more than 20,000 people had signed online petitions seeking a special prosecutor to investigate the death of Michael Brown.
St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney Robert McCulloch is in charge of the investigation. The petition asks him to step aside.
“Many community members don’t believe he can be fair and impartial,” state Sen. Jamilah Nasheed, D-St. Louis, said. She launched the petition drive with the goal of gathering 50,000 signatures. “We will continue to put pressure on him to resign,” she said.
Nasheed cited McCulloch’s investigation into the actions of two undercover drug detectives who killed a suspect and his passenger in a car on the parking lot of the Jack in the Box restaurant in Berkeley in 2000.
Grand jury proceedings are secret. McCulloch, in telling the public what the grand jury had found, repeatedly insisted that “every witness” had testified that the two detectives fired to defend themselves after the suspect tried to run them over with his car.
The Post-Dispatch reviewed the previously secret grand jury tapes and found that McCulloch’s public statements were untrue.
Only three of the 13 detectives who testified said the suspect’s car had moved forward, in the direction of the two officers who shot him and his passenger. Two of those were the shooters themselves. The third was a detective who McCulloch later said he considered charging with perjury because his account was so at odds with the facts.
Contrary to McCulloch’s public statements, the grand jury tapes showed that four other detectives testified that they never saw the suspect’s car travel toward the officers.
McCulloch never brought independent evidence before the grand jury to sort out who was right.
Nor did he request the testimony of a nationally noted collision expert who investigated the case for the Justice Department. He determined that the suspect’s car had always been in reverse — added proof that it did not move toward the detectives.
Another controversial case involving McCulloch’s use of the grand jury was dubbed “Kinkogate.”
In 1997, McCulloch used a grand jury subpoena to identify a whistleblower who contacted the FBI and reported what he said was improper behavior by a member of then St. Louis County Executive George “Buzz” Westfall’s cabinet. The whistleblower was Russ Signorino, then an employee of the St. Louis County Economic Council. He sent an anonymous fax to the media from a Kinko’s store in Creve Coeur.
Without telling the grand jury what he was doing, McCulloch gave the subpoena to the St. Louis County police, who used it to obtain a video recording from Kinko’s showing who sent the fax. After he was identified, Signorino was forced to quit his county job.
McCulloch at first claimed that he had issued the grand jury subpoena because the fax contained a “threat.”
He later admitted that there never had been any threat and conceded that no crime was involved. He denied that he had abused the grand jury process to identity a whistleblower who was acting lawfully.
According to the Missouri attorney general’s office, only an order from a judge can remove McCulloch from the case; he can also step aside himself. Nasheed said the petition would put pressure on McCulloch to step down voluntarily.
McCulloch did not respond to a request for comment. On Saturday, he said the county grand jury would begin hearing evidence in the Brown shooting case this week.
Manuel Blair, 41, of Florissant, said he is supporting the petition drive for a special prosecutor. He noted that McCulloch’s father was a police officer who was killed in the line of duty. McCulloch’s father, brother, nephew and cousin all served with the St. Louis Police Department; his mother was a clerk there.
“I don’t think he will effectively prosecute a police officer,” Blair said.
Denise Hollinshed of the Post-Dispatch contributed to this report.
Thank you St. Louis Post Dispatch.
Objectivity of prosecutor in Missouri shooting of Michael Brown is questioned
St. Louis County Executive Charlie Dooley on Friday said he is leading an effort to remove the county prosecutor from investigating the Michael Brown case because he thinks the prosecutor’s personal experiences and recent statements have tainted his ability to act objectively.
Brown, a black 18-year-old, was fatally shot by Officer Darren Wilson last Saturday in Ferguson, Mo. Wilson is white.
Dooley’s spokeswoman, Pat Washington, said there have been long-standing concerns among many black leaders in the community regarding County Prosecutor Robert McCulloch’s ability to handle such cases because his father was killed in the line of duty when McCulloch was 12 years old. The man who shot his father was black.
Most recently, she said, Dooley feels McCulloch crossed a line when he publicly criticized a decision this week by Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon (D) to bring in the State Highway Patrol to lead efforts to quell the violent street protests that erupted after the shooting of Brown.
“He injected himself in a matter in a way that further exacerbates the community distrust of him,” Washington said. “Rather than stay focused on the investigation, the prosecuting attorney decided to wade over into a whole other area and challenge the governor. He inflamed the community, which already distrusts him.”
Washington said Dooley had called the state attorney general’s office to determine how a special prosecutor could be appointed in place of McCulloch and was told there was a petition process for doing so, which he is looking into. Dooley was planning to meet Friday night with several local and state elected officials who Washington said have voiced similar concerns about McCulloch, but she declined to identify who would be at the private meeting.
Ed Magee, a McCulloch spokesman, said his office believes the county prosecutor cannot be removed from the case.
“There is no petition process,” Magee said. “We are working with the county police. We will continue to work with them if it proceeds to the grand jury and beyond if necessary.”
Magee declined to comment further about Dooley’s accusations.
McCulloch has been the St. Louis County prosecutor for more than 20 years, and during that time has been involved with a support group called BackStoppers, which helps the families of police officers killed in the line of duty.
The prosecutor’s father, Paul McCulloch, was a St. Louis police officer when he was gunned down July 2, 1964, at age 37 while trying to arrest a kidnapper. He had answered a call by an officer in need of assistance at a housing complex and died in a shootout. One of the shooters was wounded and was later convicted of murder.
This is not the first time McCulloch’s objectivity has been questioned because of how his father died.
In July 2000, questions were raised about his leading an investigation into two white police officers who fatally shot two black men. The two officers, undercover drug agents, shot Earl Murray and Ronald Beasley, both unarmed, on June 12, 2000, in the parking lot of a fast-food restaurant in the St. Louis suburb of Berkeley. A county grand jury declined to indict the officers; McCulloch said he agreed with the decision.
“My father was killed many, many years ago, and it’s certainly not something you forget, but it’s certainly not something that clouds my judgment in looking at a case,” McCulloch told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch at the time. “It certainly makes you more aware of the severity of it.”
Alice Crites, Mark Berman, Carol Leonnig and Manuel Roig-Franzia contributed to this report.
Kimberly Kindy is a government accountability reporter at The Washington Post.
Is The Prosecutor In The Michael Brown Case Biased?
Some say that county prosecutor Bob McCulloch has an unsettling history of siding with the police
A grand jury could begin to hear evidence regarding 18-year-old Michael Brown’s fatal shooting as soon as Wednesday, according to the office of the county prosecutor in St. Louis. “We’re going to attempt to present evidence to the grand jury on Wednesday,” said Ed Magee, a spokesman for St. Louis County Prosecutor Bob McCulloch. McCulloch is the only one who has the power to actually charge Darren Wilson with murder, if he sees fit, but some object to McCulloch being the prosecuting attorney in the case given its extremely high profile and his potential bias.
Rep. William Lacy Clay, (D-St. Louis) has been outspoken in his disapproval of the prosecutor: “We don’t have any confidence in the St. Louis County prosecuting attorney’s office… I have no faith in him, but I do trust the FBI and the justice department.”
The prosecutor has received criticism for his disapproval of Gov. Jay Nixon’s decision to put the Highway Patrol in control of keeping the peace in Ferguson, with some arguing that he disapproved of the decision to put Capt. Ron Johnson in charge. “It appears like the county police and the Ferguson police were upset because they put a black man in charge,” said Judy Jones, a St. Louis resident. “And in this country, white people don’t like black people telling them anything. That’s why they have problems with Obama.”
The prosecutor has also been criticized for his role in a 2000 case in which two black men were fatally shot by two white undercover drug officers in the parking lot of a Jack in the Box chain restaurant. According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, McCulloch agreed with a grand jury’s decision not to press charges because of evidence that the two men had attempted to escape and drove toward the officers. A federal investigation later showed that the men were unarmed and that their car had not moved when the officers fired 21 shots, although because the officers feared for their safety, the shootings were legal.
McCulloch later said of the two slain men, “These guys were bums.”
Other critics point to the fact that McCulloch has deep ties to the police: his brother, nephew and cousin have also served as police officers in St. Louis, and his father, also a police officer, was killed in the line of duty by a kidnapper who also happened to be black.
Civil rights activist Martin Luther King III has said, “He has displayed so much bias that he needs to remove himself from the case. That would be a victory for this community.”
McCulloch’s political relationships make it even more difficult to determine where his allegiances lie. St. Louis Public Radio reports:
“The governor and I have known each other since he was a state senator,” McCulloch recalled. As for their relationship, he added drily, “We’ve had our ups and downs.”
The two, both Democrats, tangled occasionally during Nixon’s 16 years as Missouri’s attorney general. But McCulloch said Saturday that he wasn’t going to replay any of those old disputes.
McCulloch appears to have a more amiable relationship with current Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster, who the prosecutor called a friend. McCulloch said they’ve been talking regularly since the unrest in Ferguson began…
McCulloch contends that [St. Louis County Executive Charlie] Dooley’s call for a special prosecutor may be related to McCulloch’s active campaigning on behalf of County Councilman Steve Stenger, who handily defeated Dooley in the Aug. 5 primary.
Regardless of public opinion, McCulloch will not be replaced unless he steps down because he is an elected official.
Joanna Rothkopf is an assistant editor at Salon, focusing on sustainability. Follow @JoannaRothkopf or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Prosecuting Attorney Robert McCulloch talks about Mike Brown shooting
CLAYTON, MO (KTVI) – St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney Robert McCulloch addresses reporters about the investigation into the police shooting death of Michael Brown. He says that his office is still collecting evidence and is looking for witnesses. They are working in parallel to a federal civil rights violation investigation. The two offices have been in contact and are working on coordinating their efforts.
Evidence will not be released to the public until after the Grand Jury makes a ruling. The investigation is expected to last more than two weeks.
MY President Of The United States Of America, Barack Hussein Obama, Has Dropped The Ball On #Ferguson & #Michael Brown.
Mail Online: Ferguson Cop, Darren Wilson, Left Town Days Before He Was Named Michael Brown’s Shooter.
Press Conference In Ferguson: Curfew, State Of Emergency Declared In Ferguson, So Says Governor Jay Nixon (D).
Officer Responsible For #MikeBrown Murder Is Named, As Chicago Protest Gets Emotional. Meet Captain Ronald S. Johnson.
Ferguson Missouri Police Gun Down 18 Year Old Mike Brown, Shooting Him TEN Times…For Shoplifting Candy.