Ferguson Prosecutor Doesn’t Mind That Witnesses Lied Before the Grand Jury

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St. Louis County Prosecutor Robert McCulloch announces the grand jury's decision not to indict Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson in the shooting death of Michael Brown on November 24, 2014, at the Buzz Westfall Justice Center in Clayton, Missouri. Ferguson has been struggling to return to normal after Brown, an 18-year-old black man, was killed by Darren Wilson, a white Ferguson police officer, on August 9. His death has sparked months of sometimes violent protests in Ferguson.
Photo: Cristina Fletes-Boutte-Pool/Getty Images

The St. Louis prosecutor in charge of former police officer Darren Wilson’s grand jury investigation decided to put his foot in his mouth and chomp down Friday, when he defended allowing lying witnesses to appear before the grand jury. “Clearly some were not telling the truth,” Robert McCulloch said, adding that they won’t face legal repercussions. After hearing conflicting testimonies, the grand jury decided to not pursue charges against Wilson.

McCulloch discussed these issues in an interview with local radio station KTRS 550.”Early on I decided that anyone who claimed to have witnessed anything would be presented to the grand jury,” he said. Apparently, whether they actually had witnessed the most controversial police shooting in recent memory would have no bearing.

The testimony of Sandra McElroy, a pro–Darren Wilson witness, has been heavily criticized in the weeks after the decision came down. Some say that McElroy, who testified that Michael Brown was charging at Wilson “like a football player, head down” when he was shot, suffers from mental illness and short-term memory loss. Her story about what she was doing in Ferguson changed, and other revelations showed she had posted racist rants online. She may not have seen the shooting happen at all, it turns out, and certainly didn’t contact police until weeks after the incident.

It’s no surprise, then, that some of McCulloch’s comments on Friday seem to reference someone bearing an awful lot of resemblance to McElroy. He said a woman who testified “clearly wasn’t present” and “recounted a story right out of the newspaper” to support the police officer.

Why McCulloch isn’t holding lying witnesses accountable, though, isn’t exactly clear — especially as he spent another portion of his KTRS interview defending his ability to be impartial in a case involving law enforcement even though his dad, an officer, was killed on the job.