Why did St. Louis County Prosecutor Bob McCulloch make the big announcement about the Ferguson grand jury at night? Why didn't he wait? And why did he let witnesses on the stand even when their testimonies were clearly false?
McCulloch answered those questions and more Friday in an interview with McGraw Milhaven on 550 KTRS.
Daily RFT listened to the interview (You can too) and picked out the quotes that answer the most pressing questions still lingering after the grand jury's decision not to indict then-Ferguson Police officer Darren Wilson in the fatal shooting of Michael Brown.
On why he released the grand jury decision on Monday night:
There was no good time to announce this. Whatever was going to happen was going to happen. We knew that very early on...I decided early on that I would release it as soon as practicable after the grand jury made the decision.
On police preparations before the announcement was released:
As soon as we can release it, the better we can release it, the better it is. They (local police) were already on full alert. They were already there. They were in position, at least all the law enforcement were in position. And so we did that as quickly as we could.
On whether the timing of the decision affected the following riots and arson:
No, no, I don't think so. I don't have any regrets about that. What occurred afterwards was unfortunate, and there are a variety of reasons that that may have occurred. Some people were bent on destruction regardless of when this was going to be released. But I thought it was important to get the information out as quickly as possible. I think waiting longer would have aggravated things.
You know the people who were bent on destruction, those aren't demonstrations, those aren't demonstrators. They're just common criminals.
On why he allowed witnesses to testify even when he knew they were lying:
Early on, I decided that anyone who claimed to have witnessed anything was going to be presented to the grand jury and I knew that no matter how I handled this there would be criticism of it. So if I didn't put those witnesses on, then we'd be discussing now why I didn't put those witnesses on, even though their statements were not accurate. And so my determination was to put everybody on and let the grand jurors assess their credibility.
I thought it was much more important to present anybody and everybody, and some that, yes, were clearly not telling the truth, no question about it.
I thought it was much more important that the grand jury hear everything what people have to say, and they're in a perfect position to assess the credibility, which is what jurors do.
On charging lying witnesses with perjury:
We're not going to file perjury charges against anyone. There were people who came in and, yes, absolutely lied under oath. Some lied to the FBI. Even though they're not under oath, that's another potential offense, a federal offense. I thought it was much more important to present the entire picture and say, Listen, this is what this witness says he saw,' even though there was a building between where the witness says he was and where the events occurred, and so they couldn't have seen that or the physical evidence didn't support what the witness was saying.
On Sandra McElroy, witness No. 40, whose testimony has been discredited in the media:
This was a lady who clearly wasn't present when this occurred, and she recounted a statement that was right out of the newspaper about wilson's actions and right down the line with Wilson's actions even though I'm sure she was nowhere near the place.
The one thing that changed in her story several times is the reason she happened to be in Canfield (Drive, where Michael Brown was shot) that day. She changed that, but she never did change her description of what she claims to have seen.
On the grand jury:
This grand jury poured their hearts and souls into this. It was a very emotional few months for them. It took a lot out of them physically and emotionally.
On his role as prosecutor:
My job is not to get an indictment. My job is to seek the truth and to seek justice and do what is right and what's appropriate in there, and that's what we did in this case and all other cases.
On what he could have done differently:
I probably would have spoke out (sic) more about, you know, particularly when people are talking about my inability to be fair because of my background. You know, my father was a police officer, killed. What they ignored, and this tells you just how opportunistic some of the politicians were in doing that, what they ignored is that on the 5th of July, about a month before Michael Brown was killed, a Pine Lawn officer shot and killed an unarmed man...Not a single person, not a single one of those politicians raised the issue of my fairness in that case, and the only difference is that it was a Pine Lawn case as opposed to a Ferguson case.