In a federal lawsuit filed today by the American Civil Liberties Union of Missouri, a member of the grand jury that chose not to indict former Ferguson, Mo. police officer Darren Wilson for the killing of Michael Brown is suing to lift the lifetime gag order. "Grand Juror Doe" names St. Louis County Prosecutor Robert McCulloch in the suit, and alleges he presented information to the grand jury in a "muddled" and "untimely" manner.
As first reported by St Louis Public Radio, "Grand Juror Doe" takes issue with how McCulloch has presented the grand jury's decision not to indict Wilson. "In [the grand juror]'s view, the current information available about the grand jurors' views is not entirely accurate—especially the implication that all grand jurors believed that there was no support for any charges," the lawsuit says. "Moreover, the public characterization of the grand jurors' view of witnesses and evidence does not accord with [Doe]'s own."
From St Louis Public Radio:
In this specific case, "any interests furthered by maintaining grand jury secrecy are outweighed by the interests secured by the First Amendment," the lawsuit says, adding that allowing the juror to speak would contribute to a discussion on race in America.
As the grand juror points out in the lawsuit, the Wilson case was handled in a very different manner than other grand juries. Instead of recommending a charge, McCulloch's office presented thousands of pages worth of evidence and testimony before the grand jury. At one point, McCulloch's spokesman characterized the grand jury as co-investigators.
"From [Doe]'s perspective, although the release of a large number of records provides an appearance of transparency, with heavy redactions and the absence of context, those records do not fully portray the proceedings before the grand jury," the lawsuit says.
"From [the grand juror]'s perspective," the lawsuit states, "the investigation of Wilson had a stronger focus on the victim than in other cases presented to the grand jury."
McCulloch was quickly vilified after his overlong, moronic announcement of the grand jury's decision appeared to drag on and on and on. And in the weeks following the grand jury decision, more details about alleged mishandling of the case leaked out, namely that McCulloch knowingly allowed lying witnesses to testify.
USA Today also notes that Missouri Governor Jay Nixon decided not to replace McCulloch as the prosecutor on the Wilson-Brown case knowing that McCulloch's father was a police officer killed on the job.
[Image via St. Louis Public Radio]