St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney Robert P. McCulloch speaks during a news conference.
Photo by Jeff Roberson/AP

Citizens accuse St. Louis County prosecutor of ethics violations


St. Louis County Prosecutor Bob McCulloch and his two assistants are accused of ”negligence and intentional acts of gross irresponsibility” in a misconduct complaint filed this week over their handling of the grand jury that investigated the shooting death of Michael Brown.

Seven Missouri citizens filed the complaint Monday with the state’s Office of Chief Disciplinary Counsel. All told, McCulloch and his two assistants, Kathi Alizadeh and Sheila Whirley, – who were tasked with presenting evidence before the grand jury – are accused of violating nine rules of conduct and for their “gross failure to vigorously represent their client – the citizens of St. Louis, Missouri, in their capacity as prosecutors.”

The St. Louis grand jury in November declined to bring any charges against Darren Wilson, the Ferguson, Missouri, police officer who shot and killed Brown on Aug. 9, sparking rounds of protests and violence in the St. Louis region and beyond.

Among a range of issues, Tuesday’s complaint accuses Alizadeh and Whirley of presenting to jurors outdated guidelines of the state’s use-of-force statutes and failing to outline accurate information. The co-signers also accuse the two assistants of defending Wilson instead of prosecuting him.

A spokesperson for the St. Louis County prosecutor’s office declined to comment on the complaint.

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The NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund (LDF), meanwhile, is calling for a new grand jury investigation. In a letter to Missouri Judge Maura McShane, the group calls on the court to restore public confidence in the St. Louis County judicial system in light of “grave legal concerns” including allegations that witnesses lied in their testimony.

“These and other issues raise questions about the integrity of the process and the lawfulness of the prosecutors’ conduct,” said Sherrilyn Ifill, LDF president and director-counsel, said in a statement. “This process sets a bad precedent for our judicial system and diminishes the high standard that stewards of the law are supposed to uphold.”

The complaint filed this week is just the latest round of criticism directed at the St. Louis prosecutor’s office. On Monday, a grand juror in the Michael Brown case sued McCulloch over restrictions that prevent grand jury members from speaking out publicly about their cases.

All In with Chris Hayes, 12/18/14, 8:36 PM ET

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Citizens accuse St. Louis County prosecutor of ethics violations