A grand juror who heard evidence in the police shooting death of Michael Brown has sued St. Louis County prosecutor Bob McCulloch over restrictions that prevent grand jury members from speaking out publicly about their cases.
“The American Civil Liberties Union of Missouri is representing Grand Juror Doe because, without permission from a court, it is a crime for grand jurors to discuss their service,” the ACLU said in a statement announcing the suit, which was filed Monday in U.S. District Court. “McCulloch is named as a defendant since he would be the person to bring charges against Doe.”
“Grand Juror Doe” is interested in sharing the experience of sitting on the grand jury, which decided not to indict Darren Wilson, the white former Ferguson, Missouri police officer who shot and killed Brown, who was black, on Aug. 9. The teen’s death and the subsequent grand jury decision sparked weeks of racial unrest in Ferguson and other cities around the U.S.
“Grand Juror Doe” believes speaking out about the case “could contribute to the current public dialogue concerning race relations,” according to the lawsuit. “In Plaintiff’s view, the current information available about the grand jurors’ views is not entirely accurate—especially the implication that all grand jurors believed that there was no support for any charges.” The plaintiff would also like to see legislation that changes the way grand juries operate in Missouri, according to the suit.
“Mr. McCulloch has not been served so he has no comment at this time,” Ed Magee, a spokesman for McColloch, said in an emailed statement to msnbc.
McCulloch’s involvement in the investigation into Brown’s death was controversial from the start. Critics alleged McCulloch couldn’t impartially present evidence to the grand jury in the case because his father was a police officer who was killed by a black man. After the grand jury decided not to bring charges against Wilson, McCulloch announced the decision after dark and his office released a trove of documents from the case, including witness testimony to the panel. Last month, McCulloch admitted in an interview that he believed several witnesses who testified before the grand jury lied under oath. McCulloch said he does not plan on pressing charges against any of the witnesses.