Activists Petition Circuit Court to Investigate and Remove Prosecuting Attorney in Darren Wilson Grand Jury
ST. LOUIS, MO — Following damning revelations from the grand jury investigation of former Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson in the killing of unarmed teenager Mike Brown, a group of St. Louisans are asking a judge to appoint a special prosecutor that could oust Prosecuting Attorney Bob McCulloch from office. Activists contend that McCulloch acted in bad faith during the proceedings and never intended to prosecute Darren Wilson.
Key aspects of the process have raised serious concerns across the country and in the press. Officer Wilson was allowed to present an affirmative defense to the Grand Jury, contrary to common practice in Missouri. Wilson’s own testimony contradicted his earlier statements to police and the physical evidence available to prosecutors. Those inconsistencies went unchallenged by McCulloch and his team. Witness testimony that favored Officer Wilson, known to be false, was presented by prosecutors and also went unchallenged.
“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.”
Missouri law allows any person who has information that shows an elected official “knowingly or willfully” failed to fulfill their public duties may file an affidavit with the court clerk. The Prosecuting Attorney would normally look into the official’s conduct, but in this case the Circuit Court judge would appoint a special prosecutor to investigate if McCulloch was acting arbitrarily, in bad faith, or corruptly. If so found, the special prosecutor would have authority to file a writ of quo warranto action seeking the removal of Mr. McCulloch from public office.
“While the Prosecuting Attorney has discretion over which cases to bring to a Grand Jury, he shouldn’t use one to mount an impassioned defense of a police officer accused of killing an unarmed citizen,” said Redditt Hudson, a petitioner and Board Chair of The Ethics Project. “To top it off, the prosecutors gave the Grand Jury unconstitutional guidance on police use of force. How can this be allowed to stand?”
The affiants in the case are:
- Montague Simmons, Executive Director of The Organization for Black Struggle (Read his affidavit.)
- Redditt Hudson, former law enforcement officer and Board Chair of The Ethics Project (Read his affidavit.)
- Tara Thompson, a community activist in St. Louis (Read her affidavit.)
- Juliette Jacobs, community organizer with The Organization for Black Struggle (Read her affidavit.)
Attorneys for the activists include noted criminal defense attorney Jerryl Christmas and NLG-St. Louis chapter president Maggie Ellinger-Locke. Christmas and Ellinger-Locke have also filed a 17-page Memorandum of Law in support of the affidavits. (Read the memorandum.) The case is State of Missouri ex inf. Montague Simmons, et al., v. Robert McCulloch, Case No. 15SL-CC00177, and is presently pending in Division 17 of the St. Louis County Circuit Court, the Honorable Joseph L. Walsh III presiding.