Ferguson prosecutor accused of lying in another grand jury case

This video from the USA says about itself:

Bad News For Ferguson Prosecutor Bob McCulloch

5 January 2015

“A member of the grand jury that declined to indict the white Missouri police officer who fatally shot an unarmed black 18-year-old sued the prosecutor in the case on Monday, criticizing the way evidence was presented to grand jurors and seeking court permission to speak publicly about the way the case was handled.

The lawsuit was filed in federal court in St. Louis against St. Louis County prosecutor Robert McCulloch by the grand juror, whose name was withheld and was referred to as “Grand Juror Doe.”

The lawsuit relates to the Aug. 9 shooting of Michael Brown by officer Darren Wilson in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson. Brown’s death and the grand jury’s decision not to indict Wilson triggered months of protests over police treatment of African-Americans in the United States.”* The Young Turks host Cenk Uygur breaks it down.

*Read more here.

For all conservative readers of my blog: here comes an article from the British Daily Mail, from your side of the political spectrum.

This article about the USA goes:

EXCLUSIVE: Now Ferguson prosecutor is accused of lying about evidence in ANOTHER grand jury which cleared police of killing two unarmed black men

Grand jury decided to clear Officer Darren Wilson in November after he shot Michael Brown to death in Ferguson, MO, in August

Now St Louis County Prosecutor Robert McCulloch stands accused of lying about another high-profile grand jury which cleared police of shooting unarmed black men in Missouri

The ‘Jack In The Box’ killings in 2000 have parallels to Ferguson death of Michael Brown claim American Civil Liberties Union

Claim is part of legal case in which grand juror is asking for right to speak publicly and claims prosecutor is not being ‘transparent’ about hearing

Lead attorney for ‘Grand Juror Doe says McCulloch is using the secrecy of the grand jury to ‘cover up’ shocking truth of Darren Wilson hearing

By Laura Collins in St Louis For Dailymail.com

Published: 16:23 GMT, 9 January 2015 | Updated: 16:51 GMT, 9 January 2015

The prosecutor at the center of the Ferguson scandal has been accused of lying about evidence presented to grand jurors in an earlier case in which police shot dead two unarmed black men.

The explosive allegation is made in a court case that threatens to lift the lid on the final secrets of the investigation into the shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown last summer.

The unarmed black teen was shot dead by Ferguson cop Darren Wilson, 29, on 9 August.

Now, State Prosecutor Bob McCulloch has been accused of using the secrecy of the grand jury to ‘cover up’ racism and inequity; of withholding evidence through ‘significant’ redactions in the public evidence dump; of falsely suggesting that the grand jury was unified in its final verdict and of lying before – 15 years ago – under uncannily similar circumstances.

The allegations are made by Anthony Rothert, legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Missouri in the case of Grand Juror Doe v Robert P McCulloch – an attempt by one of the grand jurors to be allowed to speak openly about what happened in the hearing.

Mr Rothert said, ‘Bob McCulloch has put out his narrative about what the grand jurors thought and it’s not accurate. He’s said he has released all the evidence but there are significant redactions and context missing.’

And it is not the first time Mr McCulloch has been accused of being less than truthful.

Mr Rothert continued, ‘Any government official should be questioned, but there is true reason to be skeptical when Bob McCulloch says he is being fully transparent. He made that claim once before, in the investigation of a June 12, 2000, police shooting.

‘He wasn’t telling the truth. Years later, evidence that he was withholding came out.’

On 12 June 2000 two police officers shot dead two unarmed black men in Berkeley, Missouri – within walking distance of the Ferguson street on which Michael Brown was gunned down.

The incident became infamous locally as the Jack in the Box shootings, named after the fast food chain in whose parking lot the killings took place.

Victim Earl Murray, 36, was a small time drug dealer. His friend Ronald Beasley, also 36, was a married father of three who worked in an auto repair store and just happened to be in Murray’s car when officers sprayed it with 21 bullets.

What followed – public outrage, official reluctance to name the officers, a grand jury’s failure to indict and, significantly, the central roles played by Bob McCulloch and Ferguson Police Chief Thomas Jackson – is strikingly similar to the events that have unfolded in Ferguson over the past five months.

According to Mr Rothert who has referenced the case in the lawsuit filed on Monday, the extent to which history is repeating itself, ‘highlights the fact that we can’t take McCulloch’s word about what the grand jurors thought and what the evidence was,’ in either case.

It was broad daylight when Earl Murray drove his car into the parking lot of Jack in the Box and realized, too late, that he was the target of an undercover sting. A dozen cops awaited his arrival.

Panicking he threw his car into reverse and backed into the police SUV behind him.

Officers Robert Piekutowski and Keith Kierzkowski approached the front of the car and began firing volley after volley. They shot Murray and Beasley 21 times.

The officers maintained that they fired because Murray started driving towards them and they believed he would mow them down. They used deadly force, they claimed, because they feared for their lives.

The supervising officer at the time was Thomas Jackson, then a Lieutenant, now St Louis County Chief of Police. The Prosecutor was Bob McCulloch.

Both presented the officers’ version as fact in the face of outrage and anger from the black community.

Police Chief Jackson told reporters, ‘I am convinced that the officers were in fear of their lives and that they were in immediate danger.’

‘It was obvious to everyone,’ he stated, ‘that he [Murray] was going to go right through them…they thought, “this is it.”’

He backed his men’s then, just as he backed Darren Wilson when the Ferguson [policeman] claimed that, after two punches during a car-side tussle with Brown, he feared that a third blow from the teen would kill him.

Meanwhile, Mr McCulloch made a public statement asserting that ‘every witness who has anything to say or to offer will be presented to the grand jury.

‘It’s important that the integrity of this office and public confidence in the judicial system be maintained.’

In an echo of his utterances regarding the Darren Wilson grand jury he acknowledged, ‘There is widespread concern in the whole community about this case, and no decision will be reached until every shred of evidence is presented.’

Yet, while publicly preaching impartiality, Mr McCulloch consistently referred to both Murray and Beasley as ‘suspects’ not victims, though Beasley was never accused of any wrongdoing. Later he stated that both men were ‘bums.’

In what was slammed as a concerted effort on the prosecutor’s part to denigrate the men, a list of all Murray and Beasley’s interactions with law enforcement, including those that led to no charges, was read out to the grand jury before members began their final deliberations.

In August 2000 – with the officers still not publicly named – the grand jury declined to indict either of the Jack in the Box shooters. McCulloch told the public that all witnesses agreed with the officers’ account of what happened.

But a Federal Investigation the following year showed that Murray’s car had never been taken out of reverse. Not only that, it was impossible for his car to have moved forward as his rear bumper was locked on the front bumper of the SUV into which he had reversed. Still, no charges were brought.

Thirteen years later an investigation by St Louis Post-Dispatch revealed that only three of the 13 officers called as grand jury witnesses backed up the officers’ account that the car had moved forward.

Immediately after the announcement last November that the Ferguson grand jury had found ‘no true bill’ on each of the five possible indictments in Darren Wilson’s shooting of Michael Brown, Mr McCulloch made a statement. The jurors he claimed, just as he had claimed 15 years earlier, had been brought to their decision by overwhelming evidence.

He said, ‘After exhaustive review….the physical and scientific evidence examined by the grand jury, combined with the witness statements, supported and substantiated by that physical evidence, tells the accurate and tragic story of what happened.’

Not so, according to Mr Rothert’s client.

If successful in their bid to speak out, Mr Rothert said, his client will challenge this presentation of the grand jury’s findings.

They will detail how vastly Darren Wilson’s hearing differed from the hundreds of cases heard by that same grand jury which had convened in May and had its service, originally due to end in September, extended to no later than January 2015 for the Wilson hearing.

Mr Rothert explained, ‘It differed in almost every respect not least in the absence of an indictment.

‘That grand jury heard hundreds of cases – 50 in one day – and in the vast majority they indicted.

‘Most cases take 15 minutes. You have one witness who says what all the others would say, there’s a discussion, then an indictment. There’s not all this extraneous information that’s of questionable relevance.’

In addition, according to Mr Rothert, his client has stated that witnesses who supported Wilson were treated differently from those who contested his account.

Focus fell heavily on Brown’s conduct rather than Wilson’s. Witnesses who had recanted original testimony were still called including one who had ultimately admitted to seeing nothing at all.

Of Mr McCulloch and his motivations Mr Rothert said that he believed the prosecutor, whose police officer father was shot dead by a black man when he was just 12, ‘sincerely believes he’s doing the right thing when he does his job.’

But he admitted, ‘We have a race problem here in Missouri. I don’t think we can discount the role that implicit racial bias played in how this grand jury proceeding went forward.

‘It’s part of the conversation that the grand juror can contribute to and part of why I think it’s important that they be allowed to speak.’

He added, ‘I would be very interested in hearing form the grand jurors in the Jack in the Box case.’

Mr McCulloch has 21 days to respond to the lawsuit that was filed on Monday.

Mr Rothert said, ‘If he’s really interested in transparency then there should be an exception made here for what is an exceptional case.

‘That would resolve things quickly, or they can put up a fight and we’ll take it from there.’

In Missouri, flames of the Civil War and fires of Ferguson are linked. Fissures in a state where old times are not forgotten by Union or Confederate supporters: here.

12 thoughts on “Ferguson prosecutor accused of lying in another grand jury case

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