Why Brown Prosecutor Should Recuse Himself
A Few days ago, Missouri Governor Jay Nixon said he would not step in and replace Saint Louis County Prosecuting Attorney Robert P. McCulloch as prosecutor in the case surrounding the shooting of Michael Brown, who was killed by a police officer who fired six shots into Brown. Activists, members of the public, and even a local Bar Association have continued to call for McCulloch to recuse himself from the case. And for good reason:
[McCulloch’s] police officer father was killed in the line of duty when McCulloch was 12.
[su_r_sky_ad]McCulloch’s mother, brother, uncle and cousin also worked for the St. Louis police department. Those close family ties to the police — and a bellwether decision 14 years ago not to prosecute two cops who shot and killed two suspects in a drug bust — have raised doubts about his objectivity in deciding whether Ferguson, Missouri, officer Darren Wilson should be prosecuted for the Aug. 9 killing of Brown, 18.
“We don’t have any confidence in the St. Louis County prosecuting attorney’s office,” Rep. William Lacy Clay, D-St. Louis, said last Friday during a visit to Ferguson, a predominantly black suburb where clashes have raged between protesters and police since Wilson, white, shot Brown, who was black. “I have no faith in him, but I do trust the FBI and the Justice Department.”
[su_sky_ad]Meanwhile, less militarized law enforcers has led to more peaceful protests in Ferguson:
As Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon ordered the National Guard to begin withdrawing from this St. Louis suburb Thursday, the persistent protests over the police killing of Michael Brown appeared smaller and much more subdued for the second night in a row.
About 75 demonstrators marched along West Florissant Avenue, at times posing for TV cameras and journalists. For a while, they were joined by State Highway Patrol Capt. Ron Johnson, who is in charge of the police response, and by U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.).
“We’ll look forward to another nice and calm night of protests,” Johnson said.
McCaskill joined the demonstrators for about half an hour. Asked whether the governor should remove St. Louis County Prosecuting Atty. Robert McCulloch from the case, as some have urged, she did not answer directly.
“He certainly has the power,” said McCaskill, a former prosecutor herself. “I understand there’s a perception out there that he [McCulloch] will not be fair. The governor has the power to remove him, and he should make a clear decision.”