After combing through the evidence presented during the grand jury investigation into the killing of Michael Brown, representatives of the teen’s family stood by his father in a church Tuesday and denounced prosecuting attorney Robert McCulloch, saying he had presented a weak case against officer Darren Wilson.
“We went through as much evidence as we could and saw how completely unfair this process was,” family attorney Benjamin Crump said at a news conference at Greater St. Mark Missionary Baptist Church in St Louis. “We object publicly and loudly on behalf of Michael Brown Jr.’s family, that this process is broken. The process should be indicted.”
For some time, many opponents had asked McCulloch to recuse himself (his father was a police officer who was killed by an African American).
“We said from the very beginning that the decision of this grand jury was going to be the direct reflection of the presentation of the evidence by the prosecutor,” said family attorney Anthony Gray. “If they present evidence to indict, there would have been an indictment.”
The Brown family representatives called into question the testimony of Wilson, who described himself as a 5-year-old matched against “Hulk Hogan”; Wilson weighs around 210 pounds and Brown was 292 pounds, and the men are of similar height. They referred to McCulloch’s remarks during his Monday night news conference as an attempt to discredit numerous witnesses and the character of Brown, who Wilson fatally shot Aug. 9.
They also also called the decision to release the grand jury’s findings at night irresponsible. “It was unnecessarily provocative, but I think it only cleared up why many of us said, let’s go to the federal government in the first place,” said the Rev. Al Sharpton. (There are still two federal investigations in progress.)
The previous night, the Brown family had called upon the public to hold a four-and-a-half-minute moment of silence after the decision was announced — a minute for each hour that Brown’s dead body was on the street. But protests quickly erupted in Ferguson, with demonstrators and police clashing, and some vandalizing of businesses.
The family representatives renewed calls to not resort to violence, and the need for a law requiring body cameras on all the country’s police officers. “If you’re on Michael Brown’s side, you stand with pride and call to uphold the law,” Sharpton said. “If you do anything to harm others, you are not on Michael Brown’s side. You’re on your own side.”
There was a brief interruption by a person in the audience, who Sharpton described as a “blogger.” Brown’s father, Michael Brown Sr., was expected to speak at the news conference but didn’t make any remarks. A video of the Brown family reacting to the grand jury announcement has picked up considerable media attention, as Brown’s mother Lesley McSpadden cried out: “Everybody wants me to be calm. You know what them bullets did to my son! They still don’t care!” Brown’s stepfather Louis Head then yelled, “Burn this down!”
Crump said that video captured the “raw emotion” of parents losing their child. “Don’t condemn them for being human.”
“We condemn violence and the looting last night, but we also condemn the violent acts that happened on Aug. 9,” Crump said.