Bob McCulloch, the St. Louis prosecutor investigating the shooting death of Michael Brown, promises to release transcripts and audio of grand jury proceedings on two conditions: (1) the grand jury elects not to indict Darren Wilson, the white police officer who shot and killed the unarmed teenager in Ferguson, Missouri last month, and (2) McCulloch gets judicial permission to do so, the prosecutor’s spokesman confirmed to msnbc late Tuesday.
Meanwhile, protesters seeking justice in the wake of Brown’s death called for Wilson’s arrest at Tuesday night’s St. Louis County Council meeting. In a video posted by St. Louis Alderman Antonio French, attendees chanted in unison, “Arrest Darren Wilson! Arrest Darren Wilson!”
At least 20 officers were on hand for the meeting, which began with chants of “Hands up! Don’t shoot!” and “What do we want? Justice!” from the crowds, The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports. Protesters also voiced their frustration with McCulloch, shouting “Hey hey! Ho ho! Bob McCulloch’s got to go!” In the weeks after Michael Brown’s death, protesters called for McCulloch to recuse himself from the case over widespread belief that he cannot fairly investigate the Brown case.
Similar scenes played out on September 9 when Ferguson held its first city council meeting since Brown’s shooting. Protesters crowded into that meeting, effectively forcing Ferguson officials to relocate to a nearby church. The next day, protesters with the Justice for Michael Brown Leadership Coalition attempted to create gridlock during rush-hour traffic on I-70 near Ferguson. But police in riot gear stopped protesters from walking on to the highway, and several people were arrested.
Attorney General Eric Holder on Tuesday announced that the Justice Department will launch a new study to learn more about the presence of racial bias in American law enforcement. A team of criminal justice scholars will focus on five American cities yet to be named, according to the Associated Press. This initiative, Holder said, has been planned for a while, but Michael Brown’s killing and the subsequent protests rushed the need for this type of formal inquiry.
“What I saw in Ferguson confirmed for me that the need for such an effort was pretty clear,” Holder said. Stressing the need for improvement, he added, “Studies show that if people think that they are treated fairly by the police, that matters almost more than what the result is.”
The attorney general also said that both the local and federal investigations of Michael Brown’s death should be conducted “thoroughly” and “expeditiously,” adding, “We would not be well served as a nation to have this drag out.”