Demands for a special prosecutor to investigate the killing of Michael Brown by Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson have been ongoing. With last week’s leaks of testimony given by Wilson to the grand jury investigating the case, the calls for a special prosecutor have grown louder.
And with good reason.
The leaks, along with analysis by “experts” close to the case published in the Washington Post, the New York Times and the St. Louis Post Dispatch, favor Officer Wilson’s version of the events leading up to Brown’s tragic death.
Attorney General Eric Holder expressed “exasperation” with this selective leaking of information, the goal of which seems be to influence public opinion prior to the completion of the grand jury’s work.
Local activists are understandably angered by these actions, adding to a growing distrust of the legal process led by prosecutor Robert McCulloch, who has close ties to local police. Some have warned that such maneuvers will contribute to an already growing loss of confidence.
They are right.
The family’s repeated call for a special prosecutor has so far fallen on deaf ears. Missouri Governor Jay Nixon instead has called for a commission to investigate the social and economic causes underlying the protests. The commission, however, is not empowered to address the legal case.
The appointment of a special prosecutor is not only reasonable but in light of local officials’ machinations may be the only way justice will be served. The NAACP has recently said, “If justice for Michael is to be achieved, a special prosecutor must be appointed in this case.”
The NAACP statement continued, “The nation is still angry, and we have every right to be. We have every right to demand fairness under the law and deep institutional changes that can save lives and build trust between our communities and law enforcement.”
In addition the NAACP demands that Nixon’s pending commission “must first advocate for justice for Michael Brown, for ending racial profiling, and for desperately needed reviews of police practices.”
Given the national prominence of the case, we think it’s no accident that these issues are coming to the fore in the days before the election. They will no doubt have a direct bearing on what happens next Tuesday.
What we do between now and then therefore is extremely important. We call on our readers and supporters to tweet, phone and petition in support of the demands for a special prosecutor. And equally as important, make sure you vote.
Photo: St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney Robert McCullogh is too closely tied to polce, civil rights advocates note. Jeff Roberson/AP