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St. Louis Prosecutor Who Handled Michael Brown Case Voted Out Of Office

Four years after Ferguson, the fallout from Bob McCulloch's decisions catch up to him.

BILL GREENBLATT/UPI/NewscomBILL GREENBLATT/UPI/NewscomThe St. Louis County prosecutor who oversaw the investigation of the fatal police shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri lost his bid for reelection Tuesday night.

In his first contested primary since the 2014 shooting that sparked the Black Lives Matter movement, St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney Bob McCulloch became another incumbent prosecutor to be ousted by a progressive candidate. Wesley Bell, a Ferguson City Council member with experience as a municipal judge, unseated McCulloch in the Democratic primary for the position.

The Appeal reported earlier this week:

Bell rose to prominence in a wave of Black leaders who were elected after the Ferguson protests highlighted a glaring lack of diversity in local government. He has since helped establish new police accountability and court reforms in Ferguson, efforts he now hopes to replicate through countywide office.

"People realize the need for change, they realize the need for criminal justice reform," Bell, 43, said. "When we talk about reforming the cash bail system or ending mass incarceration, I wouldn't call those radical. I would call those policies that work and help people."

Udi Ofer, director of the ACLU's Campaign for Smart Justice, hailed Bell's victory as "a milestone for the movement to hold prosecutors accountable for fueling mass incarceration."

"It is yet another example that the politics of mass incarceration are changing," he continued. "Voters are hungry for candidates who support criminal justice reform. They are rejecting tough-on-crime politics, and embracing policies such as bail reform and ending mandatory minimums. Smart justice is winning. And the elections in November will further prove this point."

Media investigations in the wake of Michael Brown's shooting revealed that St. Louis County and towns like Ferguson used petty fines to squeeze revenue from poor and minority residents, and jailed them when they couldn't afford it. In fact, Bell was a municipal judge in a small town that was one of several in St. Louis County sued for its predatory bail practices.

In the years since Ferguson, reform-minded district attorney candidates, funded by deep-pocketed donors and riding a wave of increased public attention, have beat incumbents in places like Philadelphia, Chicago, and Houston.

McCulloch, though, didn't appear to be going anywhere. He ran unopposed in 2014, and Bell was a heavy underdog going into tonight's election. As The Appeal noted, McCulloch outraised Bell 6-1.

But the fallout from his numerous controversial decisions during the investigation of Darren Wilson, the officer who shot Brown, finally caught up with him.

McCulloch had deep family ties to law enforcement, leading to calls for him to appoint a special prosecutor, which he refused to do.

When a grand jury did not return an indictment against Darren Wilson, the Ferguson officer who shot Brown, McCulloch announced the news in, as Reason's Anthony Fischer described it, "a bizarre, rambling, at times overtly hostile press conference."

During the unrest that followed the grand jury's decision, McCulloch lambasted Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon (D-Mo.) for relieving the Ferguson Police Department of duty.

His long tenure was marked by similar previous episodes. At one point, McCulloch wanted to prosecute Axl Rose for a riot at a Guns'n'Roses show in Riverport.

McCulloch inadvertently helped spark a national movement. On Tuesday night his political career came to an end because of it.

Photo Credit: BILL GREENBLATT/UPI/Newscom

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  • Jerryskids||

    Bell was a municipal judge in a small town that was one of several in St. Louis County sued for its predatory bail practices.

    Setting a thief to catch a thief or a fox to guard the henhouse?

  • gaoxiaen||

    Get going on Jeff Sessions already.

  • SIV||

    PANTS UP, DON'T LOOT !

  • IceTrey||

    He totally covered for Wilson. From where Brown turned back towards Wilson he made it 22 feet. The shots lasted 3.5 seconds. That means Brown was only moving 4 mph not charging "full speed" as Wilson testilied.

  • Last of the Shitlords||

    The forensics were pretty concrete on this case. Let's not try to relitigate it here.

  • IceTrey||

    Those are the forensics.

  • Longtobefree||

    Good point, what are facts compared to 'the narrative' ?

  • Last of the Shitlords||

    This is not a police brutality case. That thug kid git himself shot when he went after that cop.

    There are plenty of legit cases of police endangering and killing people illegally. This is not one of them.

  • IceTrey||

    He ran away from the cop for 175 feet.

  • Last of the Shitlords||

    .............

    You must be getting your information from some leftist source. You have no idea what your talking about.

  • Jerryskids||

    Forget RE-litigating it here, the case was never litigated. All you need to know is that the prosecutor presented ALL the facts to the grand jury in a FAIR and IMPARTIAL hearing. Which is not how prosecutors or grand juries work. Grand juries only hear the prosecution's side of the case, all the evidence the prosecutor has to move forward with charges. Grand juries don't hear the defense's answer to the prosecutor, that's the job of the trial jury. Which is what the prosecutor basically assembled, a trial jury. And then claimed that his heart, his motives and intentions were of the purest sort. Bullshit. Name me one case not involving a cop where this prosecutor - or any prosecutor ever - has allowed the defense to present arguments to the grand jury. Whether or not Wilson was guilty of assaulting Brown, the process whereby the prosecutor determined there was no case to be made stunk like a big hot pile of pig shit.

    Keep in mind that "assault" and "assault and battery" are two different things, if you threaten somebody to the extent that they - as a reasonable person - assume that an attack is imminent and defend themselves by hitting you, you are the one who has committed assault, not them just because they threw the first punch.

  • Jerryskids||

    There are conflicting reports as to what happened, the initial report said Wilson didn't know Brown was a suspect in the strong-arm robbery case, he was just out hassling some black guy in the street. Without being told he was a suspect wanted for questioning, Brown had a right to decline any interaction with Wilson, he had the right to just walk away. When Wilson began pursuing Brown, Brown had a plausible argument that he "feared for his life" as they say and was merely defending himself against an imminent unlawful attack. Of course, the story changed later, the story was that Wilson did know Brown was a suspect and that's why he stopped him and everything after that was lawful actions by Wilson. Now, honestly, whichever story you believe, don't you think there's a plausible argument to be made either way? And is there any question that, had the roles been reversed and the cop been shot, the prosecutor would have taken about 5 seconds to bring charges and dismiss the self-defense argument out of hand?

  • Kyfho Myoba||

    You forgot to mention that most of the "evidence" the prosecutor relied on in the Grand Jury was from some crazy old white lady who had injected herself into many other high profile investigations previously - an attention whore. She claimed to have witnessed the encounter, but she lived miles and miles away in a much wealthier neighborhood. She claimed she was there in Ferguson to "help promote racial friendship." A ten year old would've demolished her on cross.

  • Last of the Shitlords||

    That isn't true. There was a shitload of physical evidence that supports the cops version of events.

    It's one thing to not like police bullshit. It's another to engage in bullshit conspiracy theories and ignore real evidence to turn every police incident into police misconduct.

  • IceTrey||

    22 feet and 3.5 seconds IS physical evidence straight out of the DOJ report.

  • Eddy||

    "Name me one case not involving a cop where this prosecutor - or any prosecutor ever - has allowed the defense to present arguments to the grand jury."

    And that's the problem - not that the grand jury took the time to listen to - gasp - evidence that contradicted the narrative of Wilson's guilt, but that in non-cop cases the prosecutors too often bamboozle the grand jurors into hearing only one side.

    The grand jury gets to consider the evidence *informally* - hearsay and so on - but that doesn't mean they have to act *unfairly.*

    The Fully Informed Jury people ought to be handing out leaflets to grand jurors reminding them of their right and duty to consider all the evidence before accusing a fellow-citizen of a crime.

  • gaoxiaen||

    Grand juries don't hear the defense's answer to the prosecutor. That's why a prosecutor can indict a ham sandwich.

  • Fred G. Sanford||

    You would have preferred that he attempt to obtain an indictment in a very weak case he knew he would lose? I'm sure the only reason he even proceeded as far as he did is to please the mob that was crying for blood.

  • Kyfho Myoba||

    See my comment above.

    The prosecutor sand-bagged his own case, not to seek justice, but to protect his fellow gang member.

  • Last of the Shitlords||

    It was a bullshit case to begin with.

  • Vernon Depner||

    Was Eric Holder a member of this gang, too?

  • clarkcountycriminalcops||

    I agree, this isn't the place to litigate this. A Missouri courtroom is the place for that, and hopefully the new DA will do just that.

  • Get To Da Chippah||

    That means Brown was only moving 4 mph not charging "full speed" as Wilson testilied.

    Because it's safe to just assume a constant rate of speed, and dismiss any possibility whatsoever of an initial burst of speed and then the guy staggering after the first shot hit him.

  • IceTrey||

    22 feet is only about 8 steps. There were 2 rounds of shots. The first lasting 2 seconds. If Brown had a burst of speed at say 10 mph he would have covered 28 feet in that 2 seconds. There is no way to make it work as Wilson said.

  • Greg F||

    If Brown had a burst of speed at say 10 mph he would have covered 28 feet in that 2 seconds.


    Still stuck on constant velocity. In the 1988 Olympics Ben Johnson covered the first 10 meters (32.8') in 1.83 seconds. Brown was 6 ft 4 in and 292 lb. 10 mph is not even plausible.

  • Greg F||

    From where Brown turned back towards Wilson he made it 22 feet. The shots lasted 3.5 seconds. That means Brown was only moving 4 mph not charging "full speed" as Wilson testilied.


    Wrong. His initial velocity was 0 and to travel 22 feet in 3.5 seconds he had to accelerate. 4 mph would be his average velocity, not his velocity at 3.5 seconds. Assuming constant acceleration his final velocity would have been 12.6 feet/sec or about 8.6 mph.

  • Longtobefree||

    Facts again, will you all stop with the facts? The narrative must be upheld.

  • Horny Lizard||

    How do you know where Brown started from or even if he started at all?

  • IceTrey||

    Blood. The numbers are from the DOJ report.

  • Vernon Depner||

    Of course, this arguing about feet per second feet traveled ignores the fact that Brown HAD ALREADY ASSAULTED WILSON before any of that happened. Is this going to be a repeat of the argument about Drejka?

  • IceTrey||

    Actually Wilson testified that he was the one who initiated contact by pulling Brown through the window then tried to shoot Brown in the face when he resisted. He did shoot Brown in the hand. Brown then ran off for 175 feet chased by Wilson.

  • Vernon Depner||

    Bullshit. Read the testimony.

  • Last of the Shitlords||

    Trey, you clearly have no idea what the evidence actually is. You should stop now.

  • IceTrey||

    Except Wilson testified that Brown came to a complete stop after the first round of shots which lasted 2 seconds.

  • Weigel's Cock Ring||

    Our our resident Block Yomommatards still trying to claim that Brown was innocent?

    Give it up, you stupid asswipes. Even Eric Holder was ultimately forced to admit that the one so-called "witness" to the event was lying.

  • IceTrey||

    My claim is that Wilson lied about Brown charging him "full speed". My claim is based on forensic evidence from the DOJ report not any eye witness.

  • Vernon Depner||

    How fast does someone who has already assaulted you have to be coming at you before you're allowed to defend yourself?

  • IceTrey||

    When you're armed, outside with room to maneuver and had just chased them 175 feet, faster than a walk.

  • Dariush||

    No, your claim is ultimately He Didn't Do Nuffin'!

  • IceTrey||

    Not to get shot.

  • Vernon Depner||

    It's unfortunate that the shop owner he robbed didn't shoot him.

  • Kyfho Myoba||

    Shop owner claimed that it wasn't Brown that robbed him. (Even if he did rob him, it was self preservation of the shop owner to deny that)

    If he did rob him, where were the cigarellos? None found at the scene.

  • Last of the Shitlords||

    Since he attacked the cop, it really doesn't matter.

  • JeremyR||

    I don't get how he sparked a movement.

    It was more the media, providing a one sided narrative (which was against the facts) that made it sound like a young, helpless boy was murdered for sport like out of a Django movie

    Not you know, a 300 lb strong robbery who resisted talking to a cop who thought he fit the description. (because he was indeed the guy that robbed the store).

    If anything, it says a lot that Michael Brown was turned into a martyr (along with Trayvon Martin), instead of someone like Tamir Rice or that guy in Walmart with a toy gun. It's almost like the sketchier the character, the more a hero he is.

  • IceTrey||

    Actually Wilson grabbed Brown and pulled him in through the window then tried to shoot him when he resisted. Wilson testified to that.

  • Vernon Depner||

    Bullshit. Here's Wilson's actual testimony:


    Wilson's testimony

  • IceTrey||

    "And when I grabbed him the only way I can describe it is I felt like a five-year-old holding onto Hulk Hogan."

  • Vernon Depner||

    Even cherry-picking one sentence out of context, that's the best you can do? That's comical. Like I said—it's bullshit that "Wilson grabbed Brown and pulled him in through the window". Anyone who reads the entire testimony will see that.

  • IceTrey||

    How could Brown grab the gun as Wilson was trying to pull it if he wasn't inside the vehicle?

  • Vernon Depner||

    Who said he wasn't in the vehicle? Brown leaned in through the window to assault Wilson.

  • IceTrey||

    A drivers head is half a foot away from the window. Why would he lean in?

  • Vernon Depner||

    To assault Wilson.

  • Kyfho Myoba||

    Naahh. too easy to hit him from outside the vehicle.If Brown went into the vehicle on his own, Wilson would've over on his (right) side.

  • Last of the Shitlords||

    Trey, do you have mental problems? I originally told you to not relitigate this, and here you are, smacked down over and over. The facts are pretty concrete, backed by ballistics and blood spatter evidence.

    You should just stop.

  • IceTrey||

    Only in your mind. I told you the 22 feet and 3.5 seconds are factual evidence from the DOJ report. If you want to deny math that's your problem.

  • Last of the Shitlords||

    You've spewed a lot of bullshit here today. i followed this case when it was originally ongoing.

    Your wrong, I'm right.

    Case closed. Now stop embarrassing yourself like this.

  • chemjeff radical individualist||

    Complain about the biased coverage of what happened to Michael Brown all you want, but it was that coverage that got people to start giving a damn about places like Ferguson.

  • Mickey Rat||

    Misreporting is acceptable if it is for a good cause? The end justifies the means?

  • Longtobefree||

    Now you are catching on. The re-education must be working.

  • Jerryskids||

    Which misreporting? If you've read this blog more than once, you know that cops will always trot out smears against victims they've fucked and the media is more than happy to repeat the smears. "Brown was a no-good thug wanted for robbery, here's a video of the robbery!" But the issue isn't whether or not Brown was a thug, the issue is did Wilson know he was wanted, did Wilson have probable cause to arrest Brown, did Brown have a right to walk away from Wilson, did Brown have reason to defend himself against what he reasonably believed to be an imminent unlawful attack by Wilson?

  • Jerryskids||

    Here's an alternative scenario - Wilson's just one of the regular neighborhood power-tripping racist cops getting his jollies hassling black people, Brown tries walking away from a confrontation with Wilson, Wilson ain't about to let this nigger disrespect him by refusing to stand there and take his abuse so he goes after Brown, Brown decides he's had enough of this shit and he ain't taking it no more so he goes after Wilson - and Wilson shoots this uppity nigger who thinks he has a right to walk down the street without being hassled by the cops just like he's a white man or something. Fortunately for Wilson, turns out this particular uppity nigger has a rap sheet and is wanted for a recent robbery so it's all good - Wilson just claims he wasn't randomly hassling some black guy, he was specifically looking for Brown because there was a BOLO out for him. What a stroke of luck for Wilson!

    Now whether that's true or not, isn't it at least a plausible scenario? You don't think there's probable cause there for a prosecutor to make that very case?

  • Vernon Depner||

    Uh...no, you don't have "a right to walk down the street without being hassled by the cops" after you've committed a violent robbery.

  • Vernon Depner||

    Also, remember that Brown and his accomplice were literally walking down the middle of the street, not on the sidewalk, another legitimate reason for a cop to address them.

  • Philadelphia Collins||

    Oppositional Defiant Disorder.

  • Vernon Depner||

    Yes, walking in the middle of the street is a common affectation of violent young Black men intended to send a message. "FUCK YOU I WON'T DO WHAT YOU TELL ME!"

  • Last of the Shitlords||

    That shit where these punk kids walk down the middle of the road like that infuriates me. I've nearly had to beat the shit out of some punks more than once. Just proof that these kids aren't getting the necessary amount of beatings from their parents anymore.

  • Vernon Depner||

    In my neighborhood I have nearly run into punks in the street at night, both in my car and on my bicycle. Black kids dressed in black in the street at night are nearly invisible until it's almost too late.

  • Kyfho Myoba||

    Wilson, despite his claims, had no knowledge of said robbery. It went out over the radio anywhere from 20 min to an hour after Brown's shooting.

  • MarkLastname||

    You seem to think real life is a spike lee movie. It isn't.

  • Last of the Shitlords||

    No way it can be unless Danny Aeillo is in it.

  • Mickey Rat||

    The misreporting that chemjeff is looking the other way from because it advanced a cause he favors.

    Being critical of that is not an endorsement of any other journalistic malpractice.

  • Azathoth!!||

    Nobody gives a damn about Ferguson. Don't kid yourself.

    Focus on this--"Tamir Rice or that guy in Walmart with a toy gun". What aren't they the poster children? Why a guy who LITERALLY has just come from robbing a store and beating the owner--something we've got on video.? Why is it always vile ACTUAL criminals and NOT innocents that are put forth as examples?

  • Vernon Depner||

    Because actual criminals are far more likely to be the targets of police violence than innocent people like Rice or Crawford. The criminals are the poster children because they are the ones most at risk. The BLM crowd want the world to be safer for Black criminals.

  • Kyfho Myoba||

    First right thing you've said on this topic.

  • Vernon Depner||

    Thank you for your candor.

  • A Thinking Mind||

    Exactly this. BLM shot its own movement in the foot by supporting this stinker of a case, when it could have easily made Tamir Rice the poster child for everything wrong with the cops.

    "We followed procedures" should not be a valid excuse for why they were shooting at Tamir Rice in under 2 seconds without giving him a chance to process the fact that armed men were running toward him.

  • Vernon Depner||

    That's two seconds longer than they gave John Crawford. And remember, BLM was started in response to the Martin-Zimmerman case, another "stinker". They were on the wrong foot from go.

  • MarkLastname||

    Noble lies, right?

  • Mark22||

    Complain about the biased coverage of what happened to Michael Brown all you want, but it was that coverage that got people to start giving a damn about places like Ferguson.

    Yeah, because that's what Ferguson needs! Wealthy Democrats mucking around in their local politics.

  • Horny Lizard||

    I just can't understand shooting an unarmed man. I would retreat before I shot somebody like that.

  • Azathoth!!||

    Most of the time unarmed men are shot, it's only discovered afterward that they were unarmed.

    And then every ball-less wonder insists that THEY would have 'known' and reacted accordingly.

    And completely forgets that hindsight is ALWAYS 20/20

  • clarkcountycriminalcops||

    Name me a single criminal case that wasn't judged through 20/20 hindsight.

  • Vernon Depner||

    I can't understand attacking an armed police officer. I can't understand committing a strong-arm robbery for a few cigars. I especially can't understand attacking a police officer immediately after committing a strong-arm robbery.

  • Kyfho Myoba||

    I think that we only have Wilson's word that Brown attacked him, and not that Wilson attacked Brown.

    Pics, or it didn't happen.

  • Vernon Depner||

    We have no one's word that Wilson attacked Brown. We do have the physical evidence of the injuries to Wilson and Brown that are consistent with Wilson's story.

    Sworn testimony or it didn't happen.

  • Last of the Shitlords||

    I can't understand how anyone is surprised that someone who did those things ended up getting shot by a cop.

  • clarkcountycriminalcops||

    Finally, someone else who can't understand how the police narrative makes sense.

  • Azathoth!!||

    Let's deconstruct this, shall we?


    In his first contested primary SINCE the 2014 shooting that sparked the Black Lives Matter movement,

    This was the first CONTESTED primary since the incident--that means there were other UNCONTESTED primaries that happened much closer to the acts that are supposedly getting this guy tossed. Yeah.

    St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney Bob McCulloch became another incumbent prosecutor to be ousted by a progressive candidate.

    A progressive candidate? Waitaminute--are you saying what I think you're saying?

    Wesley Bell, a Ferguson City Council member with experience as a municipal judge, unseated McCulloch in the Democratic primary for the position.

    Why yes, yes you are.

    You're saying something that really wasn't shouted out during the incident and it's aftermath. That Ferguson like most municipalities, is firmly in the hands of Democrats and that all the evul white raycisses involved were Democrats.

  • Bearded Spock||

    Reason's love affair with Ferguson continues unabated. No matter what one may think of Wilson or the cops, rioting, looting, and general lawlessness are not libertarian values.

    And your "libertarian moment" isn't going to last more than a few seconds if Michael Brown is your poster boy for Police Brutality.

    I think a lot of the Reason staff back in 2014 secretly wished they weren't so bourgeois so they could join in the fun and break some windows.

  • Bearded Spock||

    If anyone thinks I am being too harsh in my view of Reason and their infatuation with Michael Brown, follow the Ferguson tag on this article and read their stories from 2014.

    Their coverage of the incident was appallingly one-sided. Including a story that parroted the "hands up, don't shoot" falsehood more than a month after the shooting.

  • Weigel's Cock Ring||

    Trust me, almost everyone gets it.

    Reason pretty much ceased to be a libertarian publication a while ago, which is why 90% of their old customers and commenters left for good to go somewhere else, and Reason is now left with four or five full-time professional trolls who post 95% of the comments under multiple user names.

    Whatever Reason may have been once, it now exists pretty much solely to push the agenda of a tiny handful of left-liberal billionaires.

  • Hank Phillips||

    Trust me, we're all sitting on the edge of the seat, desperate for approval from Gee-Oh-Pee infiltrators.

  • Dillinger||

    Bell - one of the excessive bail judges - now is in charge? Good voters.

  • Mark22||

    "People realize the need for change, they realize the need for criminal justice reform," Bell, 43, said. "When we talk about reforming the cash bail system or ending mass incarceration, I wouldn't call those radical. I would call those policies that work and help people."

    Because what minority neighborhoods torn apart by violence and crime need is... more criminals on the streets! Yeah, that's going to work really well!

  • Empress Trudy||

    So a gig on MSNBC is next for him. A huge pay raise. yaay

  • josh||

    The Michael Brown and Trayvon Martin cases, while very popular amongst protesters, aren't good test cases to use.

    If anything, they're good test cases to show that many in the minority community aren't willing to see the issue any more objectively than the police are.

  • Last of the Shitlords||

    I never understood why, with so many legitimate cases of egregious police brutality and other misconduct, that idiots glom on to these two cases where lethal force was actually justified, and the 'victims' were vicious thugs, or at least highly questionable individuals.

    I also pisses me off to have to defend the cops, but I'm not going to say there are five lights when there are only four. no matter how shrill and whiny IceTrey gets about it.

  • AD-RtR/OS!||

    Other than his being shot for being Felony Stupid, what drastic Law policies pushed Michael Brown into his anti-social behavior.

  • Hank Phillips||

    So nobody wanted to read the Democratic Party platform to see what promises the accessory to murder was supposed to be bound by? How strange. So how did the platform dedicated to First Responders™ do in that election?

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