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Police gun down 17 year old unarmed black teen. (Update) Darren Wilson Not Indicted



  • stringer bell
    stringer bell Members Posts: 26,212 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Protesters removed for interrupting McCulloch's speech at SLU law school symposium

    ST. LOUIS • Protesters tried in vain to halt his speech, but St. Louis County Prosecutor Robert McCulloch kept talking at a St. Louis University law school symposium Friday morning, even joking at one point when a protester got his name wrong.

    McCulloch spoke at the St. Louis University law school symposium titled "The Thin Blue Line: Policing Post-Ferguson" about 9 a.m. After about 15 minutes of interruptions, the SLU president asked the protesters to leave, and campus security officers escorted some of the protesters out of the room.

    "I'm always amazed when those who profess their rights to free speech won't let anyone else speak," McCulloch quipped.

    When they chanted, "Black Lives Matter," McCulloch said: "I'm pretty certain all lives matter."

    One protester was dressed in a judge's robe and mockingly "sentenced" McCulloch for "gross injustice" for his role in the grand jury investigation into the Michael Brown killing. Despite the interruptions, McCulloch kept speaking. At one point a shouting protester got his name wrong, and the prosecutor joked: "It's McCulloch, by the way. At least get the name right."

    There was a mix of roughly 12 protesters and students escorted out by campus security. The building was on lockdown.

    The fact that McCulloch was invited to speak upset some students and professors, who cited his conduct during the investigation into Michael Brown's death. Brown, 18, was fatally shot by a police officer in Ferguson on Aug. 9.

    McCulloch's office presented evidence over weeks to a St. Louis County grand jury, which decided in November not to indict Ferguson Officer Darren Wilson for any crime connected to the shooting.

    During his hour-long speech, McCulloch defended his office's role in the grand jury investigation and said he wasn't going to walk away from his responsibility when critics called for a special prosecutor.

    McCulloch said his "main concern" in the county is its fragmentation with so many police agencies and cities.

    "For decades we've tried to work with departments that shouldn't be departments, we've tried to work with municipalities that shouldn't be" municipalities, he said.

    The symposium started quietly as Michael A. Wolff, the dean of the St. Louis University School of Law, introduced McCulloch. Wolff said Ferguson has become synonymous with societal questions related to race, economic inequality and policing.

    McCulloch, a SLU law grad, was greeted at first by warm applause.

    "There's always room for improvement," McCulloch said, "whatever job you do."

    Then, someone shouted to interrupt his speech, but McCulloch kept talking. For the next 15 minutes or so, the interruptions continued. There appeared to be maybe a dozen or so protesters, popping up in different spots in the room.

    He made it clear he wouldn't avoid the hot topic. "It's gonna be difficult to talk about post-Ferguson if we don't talk about Ferguson," he said.

    McCulloch talked about the history of the grand jury process, and stressed that the grand jury is independent. "They're certainly not an arm or branch of the prosecutor's office."

    Protesters held up signs with the names of black men shot by police. The protesters sang, "Which side are you on?" as McCulloch continued his speech. One of the event organizers banged a gavel to try to silence the protesters. SLU President Fred P. Pestello asked them to leave, and police escorted some protesters out of the room.

    All the while, McCulloch continued his speech with an even tone.

    He said the job of prosecutor is "to see that justice is done." That may mean an indictment, or may not, he said.

    McCulloch also addressed some confusion during the grand jury process over Missouri's use-of-force statute. The Missouri statute is out of sync, he said, with a Supreme Court ruling in a case called Tennessee vs. Garner. But the jury instructions are not.

    "It put us in the position of having a statute that said one thing and an instruction that said another," he said.

    McCulloch said there is a "genuine question," though, of whether the statute needs to be updated. He noted that the Garner case was a civil case.

    He said any conversation about solutions needs to broaden.

    "The reality is, if you want to dump all the societal ills in this country at the doorstep of the criminal justice system, we're going to continue to have problems," he said.

    The speech was followed by a question-and-answer session, during which McCulloch said he was initially surprised by the amount of attention the case drew on social media. Asked what he would do differently, he said "We will be picking this apart for the next several years." He said he learned he needs to better communicate with the public.
  • TRILLip Brooks
    TRILLip Brooks Lord High Executioner Members Posts: 18,152 ✭✭✭✭✭
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