The NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund is taking a step toward what so many across the nation would love to see – Officer Darren Wilson before an honest grand jury. The organization recently issued a letter to Missouri Judge Maura McShane in order to bring together a fresh grand jury in the hopes of indicting Wilson for the murder of unarmed Ferguson teen, Michael Brown, last August.
You’d really have to be living with blinders on and earplugs in under a rock these days to not already be aware of the racial tension and demonstrations that have been taking place across the country, and around the world, in the wake of Brown’s murder, amplified even more by the subsequent murders by police of Eric Garner and Tamir Rice.
What you may not know, however, if you’ve only paid scant attention to the matter, is that the grand jury who failed to indict Officer Wilson was later met with backlash for a number of reasons that left the public feeling like the process to indict Wilson was never really an honest attempt at justice — and that’s just what the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund’s letter to the judge outlines.
According to the letter, the NAACP LDF pulled together a group of legal experts who determined through their partnered examination of the grand jury testimony that three specific areas of concern surfaced in the process.
Firstly, it is now known that McCulloch “knowingly” presented false witness testimony to the grand jury. That concern is regarding an interview from last month in which it came out that the prosecutor allowed an alleged eyewitness to testify when she had not even been present at the scene of the incident. She also, apparently, has a history of “racially-charged rants about the incident on the Internet.”
That certainly seems like fair reason for concern, no? You can read more about that, here.
Secondly, the letter notes the enormous legal blunder made by Assistant Prosecuting Attorney, Kathi Alizadeh. Alizadeh, when she “presented incorrect and misleading statements of law to the grand jury and sanctioned unlawful furor practices.” She passed out legal information that would be enormously helpful to Wilson in the proceeding, but what she passed out hadn’t been constitutional in the country since 1985. Not only that, it hadn’t been legal during Alizdeh’s entire career!
You can learn more about that in the video below:
Finally, the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund letter is critical of the fact that much of the grand jury process leaned more heavily against Michael Brown, as if he was on trial, rather than an examination of Officer Wilson and his actions on that fateful day in August. The prosecution painted Officer Wilson in a favorable manner while examining Michael Brown as a criminal, which is pretty much the opposite of what should have been taking place in that process. The letter states:
[T]he questioning of witnesses often appeared to advocate for defendant Wilson’s version of the shooting.
Additionally, President of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund Sherrilyn Ifill wrote in the letter:
Our review of these proceedings has raised grave legal concerns, including knowing presentation of false witness testimony, erroneous instructions on the law, and preferential treatement of Mr. Wilson by the St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office.
The organization also seeks a special investigation into possible misconduct by the original prosecutor Bob McCulloch. From the looks of it, it seems a good portion of the country agrees that’s a likely possibility, too.
According to the Los Angeles Times, McCulloch’s office has not, as of yet, commented on the letter.