Michael Brown’s father: ‘They crucified his character’
FERGUSON — Michael Brown’s father says a grand jury’s decision not to indict the officer who killed his son changes his view of America.
“I was upset. I didn’t understand,” Michael Brown Sr. said in a conversation with the Rev. Al Sharpton on Tuesday on MSNBC. “It just let me know that where we live is not what we thought, or what I thought. It’s what people have been saying all the time, for a nice little minute: that this was a racist state.”
Sharpton accused Prosecutor Robert McCulloch of trying to disparage Michael Brown Jr. He asked Michael Brown Sr. how he felt about the prosecutor attacking “the character of the victim.”
“They crucified his character,” Brown said.
In the interview, Brown did not cite any specific comments McCulloch had made.
“For people that don’t even know my son, they probably wish they did,” he said, adding that he feels “empty” from the experience. “I’m just crushed.”
In a news conference Monday night announcing the grand jury’s decision, McCulloch extended his “deepest sympathies” to the Brown family and referred to the “tragic death.”
He said the grand jury’s decision was based on evidence and facts, some of which contradicted people who said they witnessed Officer Darren Wilson shooting Michael Brown Jr.
McCulloch had long promised a fair and complete presentation.
“We will be presenting absolutely everything to this grand jury,” he told a radio program in August. “Every statement that a witness made, every witness, every photograph, every piece of physical evidence. Absolutely nothing will be left out.”
Transcript of prosecutor’s news conference
Documents released by the prosecutor’s office show that witnesses gave differing accounts.
Should a special prosecutor have been appointed?
Experts disagree over whether McCulloch should have stepped aside and let a special prosecutor handle the case.
His father, a police officer, was killed on the job in 1964 by an African-American man when McCulloch was 12.
HLN legal analyst Joey Jackson said Wednesday that while there can be discussions about the possibility of bias as a result of his father’s death, there is a more fundamental reason he should not have taken the case: the close relationship prosecutors often have with their local police.
“You rely upon the police every day” as a prosecutor, Jackson said on CNN’s “New Day.”
“You give them your support, your resources. They give those resources back to you.”
CNN legal analyst Paul Callan disagreed with the reasoning. A prosecutor should not be disqualified “because he’s worked with the cops closely in the past. I would say, ‘You know something? He’s a guy with integrity, I’ll trust his investigation.’ “
“I think the grand jury reached the right result on the facts of this case,” Callan said. Still, “you have to have public confidence in the result.” If the public did not have faith in McCulloch because of his father’s killing, then “maybe because of the level of public distrust, we should have had a special prosecutor,” Callan said.