St. Louis Prosecuting Attorney Robert McCulloch admitted Friday that he believed multiple witnesses lied under oath while testifying before the grand jury that heard the case of Michael Brown, an unarmed teen who was shot dead by a police officer in August.In a lengthy interview with the local radio channel KTRS 550, McCulloch said that he did not plan to pursue charges against witnesses who may have lied and that it was his decision early in the process to let anyone who claimed to have witnessed Brown’s Aug. 9 death to be presented before the grand jury.
“I thought it was much more important to present anybody and everybody,” McCulloch said, “and some, yes, clearly were not telling the truth, no question about it.”
McCulloch faced rounds of backlash at virtually every juncture of Brown’s investigation from critics who believed his decision to convene a grand jury was not the proper way to decide whether Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson should face charges for Brown’s death. The grand jury ultimately decided last month to not indict Wilson, sparking violent protests throughout Ferguson and waves of demonstrations nationwide.
McCulloch has previously raised concerns that a number of the facts and testimony presented before the grand jury exposed numerous inconsistencies that likely influenced the panel. And just this week, elements of the evidence presented to the grand jury panelists began to unwind.
An explosive report from The Smoking Gun raises red flags with the character and testimony of a key witness who claimed to have seen the moment that Wilson fired the final fatal shots. Sandra McElroy, known as “Witness 40” in the Ferguson case, gave testimony that closely aligned with Wilson’s telling of events. But according to the news site, McElroy may not have even been at the scene at the time of Brown’s death. McElroy has been diagnosed with bipolar disorder, The Smoking Gun reported, and has admitted to repeatedly using racial slurs and trying to raise money for Wilson.
Related: Witness 40 goes on the record
In his interview Friday, McCulloch referenced a female witness, saying the “lady clearly wasn’t present.” “She recounted a story right out of the newspaper,” McCulloch said.
McCulloch stood by the timing of when he announced the grand jury’s decision, which was unveiled shortly after nightfall when tensions were high, triggering violent reactions from the crowds of protesters who anxiously awaited the outcome. “There was no good time to announce this,” he said. “Whatever was going to happen was going to happen.”