Some say the failure to get indictments of police in the Wilson and Gerner cases was an abject one — but that might not be the case. In failing to throw two cops in prison, the rage of the populace has shifted upstairs, to the people who are responsible for the mechanisms that set killer cops free. Case in point, one Bob McCulloch and his supposed team of “prosecutors.”
McCulloch, the “prosecutor” in charge of getting a grand jury indictment helped to raise over $400,000 for a defense that he himself provided. Some might see that as a slight conflict of interest…or at least an indication that objectivity isn’t the State’s forte when it comes to police. But nobody’s launched an ethics complaint for it. But fortunately, one may be going up anyway.
The Ethics Project, headed by Dr. Cristi Griffin, will meet tonight to discuss whether or not to file two ethics complaints against McCulloch with the Bar Association.
The first has to do with Wilson’s changing testimony. The initial report from the Ferguson Police Chief was that Wilson didn’t know Brown was the suspect in a robbery when the shooting occurred. But when Wilson testified before the Grand Jury, he did know. That somewhat important point was all but the lynchpin for Wilson’s lynching — sorry, “defensive shooting” — of Michael Brown.
McCulloch knew about the change in story, which may be tantamount to perjury, but allowed it presented before the Grand Jury anyway. Griffin says that’s a “direct violation of the Code of Professional Ethics.”
The second case of ethics violation up for discussion tonight will be in regard to a seemingly innocuous “mistake” made by “prosecutors” early in the trial. Lawrence O’Donnell covers the subject aptly in the clip below. But what it comes down to is this:
At the beginning of the trial, prosecutors “accidentally” gave jurors a copy of a Missouri law from 1979, which was found unconstitutional by the Supreme court in 1985. According to this law, officers are allowed to shoot people in the back simply for running away, whether they committed any other crime or not. That’s what the jury was told in the beginning of the trial.
It was weeks later, just before the jury was released to render a verdict, that prosecutors said “oops,” and gave them a copy of the real, current law. When they gave them the real law, prosecutors didn’t even tell them what had changed between the two — only to disregard that first part.
When you listen to the transcript, it’s also pretty clear that the prosecutors went out of their way to sound as obtuse, technical and innocuous about the “mistake” as possible. Even knowing about the deception, it’s hard to follow the supposed prosecutor’s words afterward.
Again, this is one of those lynchpin things: If the Grand Jury had seen the real law stating that an officer can only fire in self-defense, they might have gone through the trial asking slightly more pointed questions about the nature of the “defensive” gun use. But instead, they went through the entire thing believe that Wilson had the legal right to shoot Brown simply for running away.
Between that, McCulloch’s fundraising for Wilson, and his allowing perjury in court…it doesn’t matter whether you believe Wilson or not at this point. Because what’s clear is this:
There’s something very, very wrong with this system.