The NAACP’s legal group has sent a letter to a Missouri judge asking that a new grand jury convene to consider indicting former Ferguson, Missouri police officer Darren Wilson for the shooting death of 18-year-old Michael Brown back in August 2014.
On Nov. 24, 2014, a grand jury decided not to indict Wilson for killing Brown, and, as a result, already-riled protesters and activists took to the streets seeking justice. Now, in the almost two months since the decision was reached, the NAACP’s Legal Defense and Educational Fund has penned an open letter to Missouri Judge Maura McShane asking that a new grand jury be put together and a special prosecutor be put in place to consider indicting Wilson. The letter also asks the judge to investigate the original prosecutor, Bob McCulloch, for misconduct.
In the letter, the group claims that a number of legal experts assembled by the NAACP worked together to examine the grand jury testimony and found that there were three areas in particular that were of concern to them.
The first area of concern, the letter claims, is that McCulloch “knowingly presented false witness testimony to the grand jury.” The letter cites an interview from last month in which the prosecutor admitted to allowing an eyewitness to testify even though she wasn’t actually at the scene of the shooting and actually had a history of “racially-charged rants about the incident on the Internet.”
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The letter goes on to claim that McCulloch “presented incorrect and misleading statements of law to the grand jury and sanctioned unlawful juror practices.” This specific portion refers to the distribution of legal documents that are no longer valid by Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Kathi Alizadeh.
Additionally, the group claims in their letter that the prosecuting attorney and his team treated Officer Darren Wilson favorably. The letter claims that “the questioning of witnesses often appeared to advocate for defendant Wilson’s version of the shooting.”
“Our review of these proceedings has raised grave legal concerns, including knowing presentation of false witness testimony, erroneous instructions on the law, and preferential treatment of Mr. Wilson by the St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office,” Sherrilyn Ifill, the group’s president, wrote in the letter.
The Los Angeles Times reports that McCulloch’s office has yet to comment on the letter from the legal defense organization. Reports note that the NAACP's Legal Defense and Educational Fund shares a similar name with the NAACP but is actually a separate group.