Four Ferguson activists want to oust long-time St. Louis County Prosecutor Bob McCulloch from office after the grand-jury investigation into the fatal shooting of Michael Brown, and they're asking a St. Louis circuit court judge for help.
The activists filed a lawsuit earlier this month asking judge Barbara Wallace to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate McCulloch with hopes that the investigator will find enough wrongdoing to get McCulloch kicked out of the office he has held since 1991.
"Bob McCulloch expertly administered a miscarriage of justice, and it's obvious that he cannot be trusted to work on behalf of the people of St. Louis," said Montague Simmons, a petitioner in the case and executive director of the Organization for Black Struggle. "As a result of Governor Jay Nixon's refusal to ensure an unbiased investigation, we've had to take action."
Activists allege McCulloch mishandled the case in order to prevent the grand jury from indicting then-Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson for shooting Brown in August. The grand jury ruled in November that Wilson would not face any charges, and a report leaked to the New York Times indicates that he also won't face federal charges.
In this lawsuit, activists say McCulloch acted in bad faith during the grand jury by:
- presenting large amounts of evidence in the case instead of just evidence that supports probable cause, like in most grand jury trials
- letting Wilson testify when most defendants don't testify to grand juries
- allowing witnesses with demonstrably false testimonies, such as Sandra McElroy, to testify before the grand jury
- not challenging Wilson's testimony when it contradicted with prior statements and physical evidence
- focusing on Brown's toxicology report, which indicated marijuana use, but not on Wilson's toxicology report
The Wilson grand jury was highly unusual from the start, when McCulloch announced he wouldn't specify a criminal charge against Wilson but would instead let the jury decide one for itself. McCulloch has willingly admitted he let false witnesses testify before the grand jury as part of his strategy present all evidence before the jurors.
The activists asking judge Wallace to appoint a special prosecutor are Simmons, executive director of the Organization for Black Struggle; Redditt Hudson, a former law-enforcement officer and chair of the Ethics Project; Rueben Riggs, a student at Washington University; and Juliette Jacobs, community organizer with the Organization for Black Struggle.
Typically the county prosecutor is in charge of investigating public officials accused of wrongdoing. But because McCulloch is the prosecutor, the activists are asking for the appointment of a special prosecutor for this case.
One of the jurors from the Wilson grand is suing McCulloch for the right to speak out about the investigation. Grand jurors are sworn to secrecy even after their cases are over.