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Clouds loom over grand jury for Michael Brown

Robert McCulloch
Robert McCulloch

Missouri Governor Jeremiah Wilson "Jay" Nixon early this morning announced his decision not to replace St. Louis County prosecutor Robert P. McCulloch, as a grand jury is scheduled to convene Wednesday.

Gov. Nixon’s conclusion to allow controversial prosecutor McCulloch to proceed is being called by some in the legal community as one that will lead the grand jury in the Michael Brown case to a decision fraught with racial bias. McCulloch has a history of failing to bring indictments against two white officers who killed two unarmed black men during a drug investigation.

In 2001, two undercover drug officers from Dellwood, Missouri shot and killed two men in the parking lot of a Jack in the Box in north St. Louis County. The officers claimed the suspects, who had prior felony convictions for drug and assault offenses, tried to escape arrest and then drove toward the officers.

Prosecutor McCulloch refused to prosecute the two officers. His decision inflamed the public and legal community. Demonstrations ensued around St. Louis after McCulloch said, “These guys were bums,” referring to the two unarmed black men.

A federal investigation subsequently revealed the two police officers’ stories escaped reality. FBI investigators determined the men were unarmed and that their car was not in motion when officers fired 21 shots that killed suspects Earl Murray and Ronald Beasley. Despite the evidence that did not corroborate the officers’ testimonies, their actions were deemed justified because they feared for lives.

Robert McCulloch is no stranger to shootings involving police officers. His father, St. Louis police officer Paul McCulloch, was killed July 2, 1964, during a gun battle with alleged kidnapper Eddie Glenn. McCulloch was only twelve-years old when his father died from gunshots wounds.

In light of Gov. Nixon’s decision to not name a new prosecutor, it appears he is not one to hold a grudge. McCulloch was critical of Jay Nixon’s choice to replace St. Louis County Police control with Missouri State Highway Patrol Capt. Ron Johnson

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