Prosecutor Says Governor Has Power to Remove Him from Michael Brown Case
CLAYTON, Mo. (KMOX) – Amid calls from protestors and politicians for him to recuse himself, St. Louis County Prosecutor Bob McCulloch is vowing to handle the grand jury probe of Michael Brown’s fatal shooting “objectively and fairly.”
Missouri Congressman William “Lacy” Clay – along with St. Louis County Executive Charlie Dooley and Missouri Senator Jamilah Nasheed – have all asked Gov. Jay Nixon to remove McCulloch from racially-charged Ferguson, Mo., police shooting case. The shooting has sparked street protests, rioting and looting in Ferguson.
“I certainly have no intention of walking away from the responsibilities that the people have entrusted me with,” McCulloch says, “but I also understand if the governor were to do that, he has that right.”
McCulloch says his office is already preparing to present evidence to a grand jury that will be selected by a judge from the St. Louis County jury pool. McCulloch says two veteran prosecutors from his staff, including one who is an African American, will present the evidence.
“Absolutely everything will be presented to the grand jury,” McCulloch says. “We won’t be making, I won’t be making any decisions at all. I won’t even be presenting the actual evidence. My staff will be doing that.”
Clay says McCulloch should be removed from the case because the community has “zero confidence in the viability, transparency and viability of the local investigation.”
McCulloch’s objectivity has come under question because his father – a police officer – was killed in a shooting, and because he opening criticized the decision by Nixon to remove county police from the streets of Ferguson.
Clay says a prosecutor has total control of what evidence will be presented to the grand jury.
“The prosecutor has the power to convince a jury to indict a ham sandwich, if he chooses to,” Clay said, quoting an old saying about the power of prosecutors.
“Given Mr. McCulloch’s history and his close relationship to the Ferguson police department, and his track record of never indicting a police officer who used excessive, deadly force against a black suspect, it’s no wonder that the community has no confidence in his independence,” Clay says.
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