Grand Jury Could Soon Convene On Michael Brown Shooting
County prosecutor said jury could start hearing evidence in teen's killing Less than 24 hours after the release of an autopsy report showing Michael Brown was shot six times by Ferguson, Missouri Officer Darren Wilson while unarmed, the office of the county prosecutor said a grand jury could start hearing evidence in the fatal shooting as early as Wednesday, reports the Associated Press.
Ed Magee, a spokesman for St. Louis County Prosecutor Bob McCulloch, emphasized the word “attempt” to reporters when stating that the prosecutor’s office would bring Brown’s case before the grand jury that regularly convenes on Wednesdays.
McCulloch told the St. Louis Dispatch Saturday that he hoped to have the case before a grand jury within days.
“We’re going to start presenting everything to the grand jury as quickly as we can…and not [wait] until we have everything and then do it,” he said.
The release of the autopsy report, however, likely intensifed the pressure to commence the prosecutorial process. During a press conference to announce the results of the private autopsy, Brown family attorney, Benjamin Crump—who also represented the parents of Trayvon Martin—said the mother wanted to know, “what else do we need to give them to arrest the killer of my child?”
The Ferguson community and civil rights leaders have urged McCulloch to handover the case to a special prosecutor due to an alleged bias. McCulloch’s father was a police officer who was killed in the line of duty when McCulloch was a child. His critics also point to a case in 2000 where two Black men were killed by two White police offcers in a fast-food parking lot. McCulloch said he agreed with
the grand jury not to press charges.
The grand jury is a powerful and imperative step in pursuing justice for Brown. Grand jury proceedings are the process by which a panel of chosen private citizens examine evidence and determine whether probable cause exists to believe the defendant committed the alleged crime.
The prosecutor has sole discretion in deciding what criminal charges the grand jury can consider in the Brown shooting, which in theory could range from frst-degree murder to misdemeanor disorderly conduct. McCulloch determines what evidence is presented to the jury in support of those charges and how passionately he advocates for an indictment against Offcer Wilson. Nine of the twelve jurors must agree that a crime was committed for an indictment to issue.
Grand Jury proceedings are closed to the public, preventing any oversight and scrutiny. Any bias on the part of the prosecutor could irreparably taint the grand jury process and foreclose the possibility of Offcer Wilson standing trial for the killing Brown.
Protestors and police officers clashed again last night, nine days after Brown’s body was left lifeless on the street. The only way peace will return to Ferguson, Brown supporters say, is if Wilson is made to answer for his actions.
(Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
Stacy M. Allen, Attorney at Law (@SMAllen_Esq)