CLAYTON, Mo. – Officials and community leaders gathered in Clayton Thursday morning to demand further action in the Michael Brown investigation as well as deliver a petition to St. Louis County Prosecutor Bob McCulloch's office.
State Sen. Jamilah Nasheed said that the group, known as Justice for Mike Brown Leadership Coalition, would present more than 70,000 signatures to McCulloch's office asking for his removal from the investigation.
A Ferguson police officer fatally shot Brown, who was unarmed at the time. Prosecutor McCulloch has begun presenting evidence to a grand jury for consideration but he said it could take until mid-October before all evidence is presented to the group.
Sen. Jamilah Nasheed said that more than 70,000 people from across the country signed a petition for removal of St. Louis County Prosecutor Bob McCulloch.
The group known as Justice for Mike Brown, which is comprised of faith leaders, organizations and political leadership, gave a list of four demands pertaining to the investigation, including the following:
- The firing of Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson who is currently on administrative leave. The group also demanded he be charged and prosecuted for the shooting.
- Have Governor Jay Nixon remove Prosecutor McCulloch from office.
- Have U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder and Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster investigate policies of St. Louis County, City of St. Louis an municipalities in Missouri for racial profiling and create policies that end those practices. The group also demanded Auditor Tom Schweich to do an audit of those municipalities who have a practice of racial profiling and find out how much minorities pay in terms of tickets and other violations.
- The group asked Ferguson Mayor James Knowles and Police Chief Thomas Jackson to resign from those positions. If not, they asked for the residents of Ferguson to do a recall to have them removed.
A reporter asked asked whether Officer Wilson has the constitutional right to be presumed innocent.
"We are asking him to be terminated because of the shooting. I think there is concrete evidence he does not belong on the police force," Jerryl Christmas said, the coalitions's attorney. " I'm not saying he needs to be in prison yet until he has a trial and he's proven guilty by a jury of his peers. It is disrespectful to the African American community for him to still be on the payroll at the Ferguson police department after he's killed someone."
Sen. Nasheed's initial attempt to bring the petition to McCulloch's office was denied by security but she was later given access.
Prosecutor McCulloch soon released a statement regarding his removal from the case. The statement is as follows:
I appreciate and understand the concerns of those who honestly believe that I cannot or will not be fair to all in the gathering and presentation of the evidence pertaining to the tragic death of Michael Brown. Although I understand the concerns, and do not take lightly the demands that I recuse myself from this case, I also recognize that I have a responsibility to the family of Michael Brown, the people of Ferguson and the entire community.
As I have stated repeatedly, I have no intention of walking away from the responsibilities and duties entrusted to me by the people of this community. Additionally, there is no basis in the law to do so. I have faithfully and fairly carried out those responsibilities and duties for more than two decades and will continue to do so for at least the next four years.
I also recognize that the declaration of emergency by Governor Nixon grants the governor exclusive power to remove me and my office from any further involvement in this matter. Although i strongly believe that such action would be a mistake on the part of the governor, i do urge all seeking my removal to express those demands to the governor and, as i have, demand that he make a decision to remove this office or not remove this office and end this distraction. Only the governor can answer this question.
We have begun presentation of evidence to the grand jury and will continue to do so in a fair, full and impartial manner. However, the governor must settle this issue now. To leave this issue unresolved now leaves the possibility of exercising this power at a later date which will cause a significant and unwarranted delay in the resolution of the investigation and resolution of the case. The family of Michael Brown deserves an answer, the people of Ferguson deserve an answer and the people of the entire area deserve an answer.
Governor Nixon previously released a statement saying that he would not ask McCulloch to recuse himself from the case.