Bob McCulloch is already in a lose-lose situation and must be fired.
If he continues as prosecutor on the case against Officer Darren Wilson, who killed Michael Brown execution-style, and should his critics disagree with the outcome of the case they will blame it on McCulloch’s alleged bias.
That’s why the best solution is for Gov. Nixon to relieve McCulloch of his duties or for him to step aside on his own.
Many people in the African American community in Ferguson and elected leaders such as State Senator Jamillah Nasheed have called for McCulloch to be fired. Nasheed has also launched a petition drive to oust McCulloch.
Some of McCulloch’s critics cite his close family connections to the police force –many of his relatives have served as police officers– and the fact that his own father, a police officer, was killed while on the line of duty by a Black suspect.
McCulloch’s own comments following the execution-style killing have been troublesome.
After the killing of Brown there were angry protests in Ferguson and the law enforcement then under the command of St. Louis Police as well as Ferguson Police chief Tom Jackson, unleashed strong arm tactics. Officers were dressed in military-type combat gear and some deployed with guns mounted atop armored vehicles. Tear gas and smoke bombs were unleashed to try and stop some of the looting that erupted.
There was real fear that things could get completely out of hand. President Obama weighed in with a phone call to governor Nixon who seemed blind to the fire that was gathering flames.
Gov. Nixon responded by ordering Capt. Ron Johnson of the Highway Patrol, which has 300 members as opposed to the Ferguson police force’s with only 53 members, to take command of the security and the forces deployed to control the protests.
Johnson, who is African American and from the neighborhood has been widely praised for helping to lower the temperature immediately. He is personable, engaging, knows how to communicate with the residents, and even walked with some of the demonstrators.
Instead of praising this action, which may possibly have saved lives in Ferguson and prevented more looting and destruction of properties, prosecutor McCulloch instead denounced the governor’s action.
“It’s shameful what he did today, he had no legal authority to do that,” McCulloch said, on August 15, referring to the governor’s action. “To denigrate the men and women of the county police department is shameful.”
It was no coincidence that around the same time Ferguson Police chief Tom Jackson conducted his dubious and devious “press conference.”
He distributed a media package that included a video he said showed Brown shoplifting cigars –he referred to it as “strong arm” robbery. He also released the name of Darren Wilson, the officer who killed Brown, for the first time, almost as an afterthought.
Not surprisingly, police chief Jackson didn’t tell Gov. Nixon or Capt. Johnson that he was going to release the video. Jackson exposed his own corrupt motive when he then revealed that when Officer Wilson approached Michael Brown, he had no idea that the Black teenager had been involved in any alleged theft of cigars at the convenience store.
In other words, the objective, as Gov. Nixon later said a few days later on “Meet The Press” had been to “disparage” Michael Brown’s character. Presumably, this would somehow assist Officer Wilson in his defense or help exonerate him by justifying the shooting.
Not suprisingly, passions were again inflamed and violence erupted on the streets of Ferguson. Gov. Nixon ordered the National Guard into Ferguson.
Meanwhile, the Brown family, the people of Ferguson, the country and those following around the world are still absorbing the ugly reports from the autopsy on Michael performed by renowned forensic pathologist Michael Baden on behalf of the family.
It shows that Michael was shot at least six times, possibly more, with a bullet hitting him in the right eye and one, referred to as the “kill shot” going into the apex of his head, presumably as he was already falling to the ground head first.
The family has expressed their frustration and asked why Officer Wilson has not yet been arrested for the killing of their son.
So it’s quite understandable why both police chief Jackson and prosecutor McCulloch have many critics. Michael Brown’s family and attorneys representing them have all lost confidence in the local authorities and have asked that the Justice Department take over the investigation totally instead of running their own parallel probe.
Meanwhile, Gov. Nixon and prosecutor McCulloch continue their war of words and circus acts, with the latter daring the governor to fire him by telling him to “man up.”
This is the one time Gov. Nixon must accept the dare and fire the prosecutor — it’s the right thing to do.