Ferguson Grand Juror Sues for Right to Speak Out

Wednesday, January 07, 2015
Bob McCullough (photo: Jeff Roberson, AP)

A member of the grand jury convened to investigate the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, is suing in federal district court to speak out about the controversial case.


The grand juror, identified only as Grand Juror Doe in court documents, is prevented by law from publicly talking about the decision to not indict police officer Darren Wilson, who shot and killed Brown.


The lawsuit (pdf) says the juror objects to how St. Louis County Prosecutor Bob McCulloch has been able to speak out about the case and his characterization of the grand jury’s decision. The documents McCulloch released pertaining to the testimony “do not fully portray the proceedings before the grand jury,” according to the complaint.


“In [the grand juror]’s view, the current information available about the grand jurors’ views is not entirely accurate — especially the implication that all grand jurors believed that there was no support for any charges,” the complaint says. “Moreover, the public characterization of the grand jurors’ view of witnesses and evidence does not accord with [Doe]’s own.”


“From [the grand juror]’s perspective, the investigation of Wilson had a stronger focus on the victim than in other cases presented to the grand jury,” the lawsuit states.


The juror, who is represented by the American Civil Liberties Union of Missouri, also says the legal standards presented to the grand jury were done so in a “muddled” and “untimely” way.


St. Louis Public Radio pointed out “the Wilson case was handled in a very different manner than other grand juries. Instead of recommending a charge, McCulloch’s office presented thousands of pages worth of evidence and testimony before the grand jury. At one point, McCulloch’s spokesman characterized the grand jury as co-investigators.”


McCulloch’s office also reportedly told the grand jury members to ignore a state law that authorizes police to use deadly force against unarmed people.


The prosecutor previously admitted he allowed false testimony to be presented to the grand jury by Sandra McElroy, whose statements were previously found by federal officers to be full of holes.

-Noel Brinkerhoff


To Learn More:

Grand Juror Sues McCulloch, Says He Mischaracterized The Wilson Case (by Chris McDaniel, St. Louis Public Radio)

Michael Brown Case Grand Juror Sues St. Louis County Prosecutor, Asking To Speak Out On Case (by Robert Patrick and Joel Currier, St. Louis Public Radio)

Ferguson Grand Juror Sues Prosecutor To Lift Gag Order (by Nicole Flatow, ThinkProgress)

Grand Juror Doe v. Robert McCulloch (U.S. District Court, Eastern Missouri) (pdf)

Grand Jury Wrangled With Confusing Instructions (by William Freivogel, St. Louis Public Radio)

Ferguson Prosecutor Admits he Allowed False Evidence to be Presented to Grand Jury (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)


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