In any grand jury hearing, especially when murder charges are considered, the prosecutor acts as an advocate for the victim and tries to convince the grand jury that charges should be brought against the defendant. In the Michael Brown case, St. Louis County Prosecutor Bob McCulloch turned that process on its head. Rather than using the evidence to try to convince the grand jury to return a true bill against killer cop Darren Wilson, McCulloch did his very best to twist the evidence in favor of Wilson. Not only did he leave the grand jury to wade through a mountain of evidence without prosecutorial assistance, we now know that McCulloch lied to the grand jury.
On his MSNBC program “The Last Word,” Lawrence O’Donnell reported that after reviewing the transcripts of the Darren Wilson Grand Jury he discovered that McCullough and his lackeys gave the jurors an outdated copy of Missouri Law. To wit, that St. Louis County police officers are justified in using deadly force if they believe they face a “reasonable threat.” In other words, a cop can kill anyone at anytime if he imagines that he is in some sort of danger. “Imagine” is the operative word; no need for any objective basis for believing there’s an imminent threat.
However, according to O’Donnell, “In 1985 the Supreme Court amended this law to include a ‘probable cause’ requirement under Tennessee v Garner. The misleading information was given to the Grand Jury directly before Darren Wilson’s testimony giving the impression that all that was required under the law for Wilson to kill Michael Brown was his belief that he was in danger, without the additional requirement of probable cause for such a belief.”
The difference between “reasonable threat” and “probable cause” is enormous. It is the difference between pardoning a random, whimsical judgment about life or death being made by an angry, trigger-happy cop…or calling it a criminal act. The St. Louis Grand Jury should have been told this before Wilson testified, so that jurors could have judiciously assessed his actions. McCulloch violated all prosecutorial ethics by misleading the Grand Jury, and for that he should lose his job.