Lezley McSpadden

Lezley McSpadden has not closed the case on the killing of her son Michael Brown.

When St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney Wesley Bell told her on Thursday, July 30 that he would not file criminal charges against former Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson for killing her son, she said she is still seeking “due process” for him.

She was quoting one of the systemic changes Bell had introduced, he said, as part of the criminal justice reform movement sparked by her son. Bell said he would now record all grand jury hearings the way his predecessor, Bob McCulloch, recorded Wilson’s grand jury proceedings as an exception.

“I believe due process is for everyone,” Bell said, announcing the new policy.

“Then where is the due process for my son?” McSpadden said to The St. Louis American.

McSpadden was disappointed that Bell did no new investigation but relied solely on the forensics and interviews collected in 2014 in a process handled by McCulloch and the St. Louis County Police Department that few in the community trusted at the time.

“He didn’t do a proper investigation,” McSpadden said.

Her attorney Jerryl Christmas said the reliance on existing evidence limited Bell. “You know that when you direct the investigation you control the narrative,” Christmas said.

Bell did no new investigation, but McCulloch and the county police were not his only sources of evidence. The Civil Rights Division of President Obama’s Department of Justice (DOJ) did its own investigation and published its own report. Like McCulloch and ultimately Bell, the DOJ did not charge Wilson.

“We relied heavily on the evidence uncovered by the Department of Justice, an investigation that was extraordinarily comprehensive and included interviews of every significant witness and its own forensic examinations,” Bell told The American.

“Because that investigation was run under the leadership of Eric Holder and the Civil Rights Division, we did not have the same concerns about bias or a rush to judgment. We also considered any other publicly available evidence that had emerged since the initial investigation was completed. And we hired an independent prosecutor to assess all of that evidence and conduct a considered, objective analysis.”

Christmas said he sees justifiable criminal charges in the facts and the law in this case and Bell should take it to trial.

“Let the people decide,” Christmas said. “Let this mother have closure. Give people a reason to have faith in the system. That’s the whole reason he was elected.”

Bell crushed McCulloch in the 2018 Democratic primary after McCulloch’s mishandling of the Darren Wilson grand jury proceedings.

“It saddens me deeply that we could not do more for the Brown family under the law,” Bell said. “We will keep pushing for more reforms and meaningful change.”

Not surprisingly, protest action is planned against Bell — at 2 p.m. Sunday at the Justice Center in Clayton.

“Let’s keep the pressure on,” Christmas said.

McSpadden said, “I do appreciate the support. Continue to pray for us, and continue to support us. The fight is not over.”

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(1) comment

St. Paul JP

Putting Darren Wilson on trial would be a small form of justice, whether or not he got convicted of anything. It would be the first time he had to answer any real questioning. The former prosecutor knew Wilson would be destroyed in a courtroom so he chose to shield him from scrutiny, then announce the final decision on a Friday night after stoking the anxiety in Ferguson for months at a time. What followed the timing of his announcement was entirely predictable. Bob McCullough was the fuel for the buildings that have burned since then. Many of the unarmed black people who died at the hands of police since 2014, as well as the policemen around the country who were killed by ambush, would still be alive if Bob McCullough would have at least given the appearance of doing his job. - St. Paul JP

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