Skip to main content

Police officers keep watch while demonstrators (not pictured) protest the death of black teenager Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri August 12, 2014. Police said Brown, 18, was shot in a struggle with a gun in a police car but have not said why Brown was
You might have noticed it at the very end of the press conference from the Ferguson Police Department: The department isn't talking about investigating the murder of Michael Brown. Nope. They are following up on "the apprehension of the the robbery suspects." And the chief mentioned explicitly that the results of this robbery investigation have been turned over to the St. Louis County prosecutor's office for further action.

There's no doubt, right from the start, that the Ferguson Police Department isn't playing this as an investigation of an officer, but as an investigation of Michael Brown.

How this turns out is going to come down to the actions of one man: Bob McCulloch, the Democratic St. Louis County prosecutor. It's up to McCulloch whether to charge Darren Wilson and obtain justice for Michael Brown, whether any charges will be leveled against police forces that reacted with ridiculous levels of force to nonviolent protesters, and to determine whether the community will start to heal or be set ablaze.

So how is McCulloch likely to act? Signs are troubling:

St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney Robert McCulloch Thursday night blasted the decision by Gov. Jay Nixon to replace St. Louis County Police control of the Ferguson situation with the Missouri State Highway Patrol.

“It's shameful what he did today, he had no legal authority to do that," McCulloch said. "To denigrate the men and women of the county police department is shameful."

McCulloch noted that no one was seriously injured in the effort led by County Police Chief Jon Belmar until Nixon handed control of the Ferguson over to the state agency on Thursday.

Please read below the fold for more on McCulloch.

As everyone else was applauding Nixon's belated move to bring in State Police Captain Ron Johnson and defuse the paramilitary buildup that was turning Ferguson into a time bomb, McCulloch found it "shameful." As far as the investigation goes, McCulloch says there's no timeline.

Why is McCulloch reacting this way? Well, there's a reason ...

McCulloch is a 20-year prosecutor, a tough-as-hell on crime guy who campaigns on his effectiveness against violent crime. Which makes him similar to every prosecuting attorney in every urban area in the country. Only McCulloch has a background that can't help but brush up against this case.

McCulloch grew up on the border between St. Louis and Pine Lawn in the shadow of the old ammunitions plant just off Goodfellow Boulevard. His dad was a city cop, one of the first K-9 officers in the department. “July 2, 1964: My dad was 37 years old, I was 12.” It was the day his father was killed in the line of duty trying to arrest a kidnapper. “He was in his police car and heard a call for an officer in need of aid at the old Pruett-Igoe housing project. He wasn’t far from there, and when he arrived, he saw one officer was down and another officer was chasing a guy,” he explains. “They went around a building, my dad went around the other way and they got into a shootout—my father got shot.” Officer Paul McCulloch left behind a wife and four children. Bob McCulloch, the future prosecutor, was now a crime victim. “It had a huge impact on me in the long run. In the short term, at that age, it’s hard to comprehend the finality.
It's impossible not to feel for McCulloch and his loss. His father died in the line of duty, and no doubt that propelled Bob McCulloch to launch his own career in law enforcement.

But it's hard to ignore the fact that the man who holds balm in one hand and matches in the other, is someone with a demonstrated inclination to be protective of the local police department. It's also hard to ignore that the Ferguson PD is feeding this case to McCulloch in terms that must seem painfully familiar.

If you were wondering who was the real target of the press conference held by the Ferguson police chief. Well, now you know.

This afternoon, McCulloch appeared on local television to reiterate his support for the county and Ferguson police, who he called "very professional." He also stated that he thought a "show of force" was necessary, and that while a few people might have had to deal with the smell of tear gas—an idea he seemed to find amusing—no one was seriously hurt. Proving that the Ferguson police had done the right thing.

So... hello, DOJ?

Originally posted to Devil's Tower on Fri Aug 15, 2014 at 09:11 AM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

EMAIL TO A FRIEND X
Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags

?

More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site