No Justice: Prosecutor Bob McCulloch's Troubling Speech
Last night, America braced itself as word came that the grand jury decision in shooting death of Michael Brown by Officer Darren Wilson would-be announced. What was expected to be an expedient announcement turned into a 40-minute speech by St. Louis District Attorney, Robert "Bob" McCulloch that sounded more like a closing statement written by Wilson’s attorney.
From the onset, McCulloch’s tone was defensive as he confirmed the public’s suspicion that Officer Wilson will not face charges for killing Brown, an unarmed teenager. Within the first minute, the speech took on a condescending tone as McCulloch called the Community’s concerns regarding the thoroughness of the investigation “unfounded.” McCulloch then attacked the media—“The most significant challenge encountered in this Investigation has been the 24-hour news cycle and its insatiable appetite for something, for anything, to talk about, following closely behind with the nonstop rumors on social media.”
Really? The greatest challenge encountered by the McCulloch’s investigation was social media? McCulloch despises the media attention garnered by this case because it prevented him from unilaterally deciding to charge Wilson with murder, and instead forced him to hide behind a grand jury process to reach the same result.
From August 9, 2014, when Brown’s body laid uncover for four hours, McCulloch’s allegiances to the Officer Wilson were clear. McCulloch was the only public official to detest Governor Jay Nixon’s decision to bring in the National Guard to ease tensions Between protesters and local police. It was McCulloch who rigged the grand jury proceedings by dumping information on ordinary jurors ill-equipped to filter through it all and determine appropriate charges. Instead of being presented with a narrative of how Officer Wilson Dilled Brown, grand jurors listened to 70 hours of testimony over the course of 25 days. If trained attorneys struggle with the nuanced definitions between first degree and second-degree murder, how can citizens who may not have a college education grasp the concept?
Throughout the press conference, McCulloch repeated that the forensic evidence did not support the testimony of many of the eyewitnesses, and when they were confronted about the inconsistencies, some witnesses refused to change their story. Maybe that is because their testimony was not incompatible with the physical evidence in the case. McCulloch admitted two critical truths: (1) Brown was unarmed, and (2) the fatal shot to the top of his head was not fired at close range; the witness statements did not contradict these two facts.
When reporters inquired about the breakdown of the votes for each charge, McCullough refused and emphasized the veil of secrecy under which grand juries convene, yet hours later he authorized the release of the entire grand jury transcript.
From the beginning, the focus has never been on justice for Brown but rather on ensuring the freedom of Wilson, and McCulloch’s press conference was no different. During the Q & A portion of the press conference, McCulloch praised the grand jury, remarking that “they gave up their lives.” As inconvenienced as the grand jurors may have been, it is Brown who gave up his life and it Brown who deserved justice. (Photo: Cristina Fletes-Boutte-Pool/Getty Images)
Stacy M. Allen has served as counsel on an array of legal matters including civil and criminal law, family law, bankruptcy, and even terrorism cases. Stacy is a proud graduate of St. Edward’s University where she graduated cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts degree in International Relations with a concentration in Latin America, and of Howard University School of Law, in Washington, DC, where she served as President of the Huver I. Brown Trial Advocacy Moot Court Team. Her current practice focuses on a variety of civil litigation and criminal law matters.
Stacy M. Allen, Attorney at Law (@SMAllen_Esq)