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Missouri governor won't seek removal of county prosecutor

BY NIGEL DUARA

FERGUSON, Mo. (AP) -- Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon said Tuesday that he would not seek the removal of the prosecutor overseeing the investigation into the fatal police shooting of Michael Brown, which has sparked more than a week of nightly clashes between protesters and police.

St. Louis County Prosecutor Bob McCulloch's deep family connections to police have been cited by some black leaders who question his ability to be impartial. McCullouch's father, mother, brother, uncle and cousin all worked for the St. Louis Police Department, and his father was killed while responding to a call involving a black suspect.

Nixon said he would not ask McCulloch to leave the case, citing the "well-established process" by which prosecutors can recuse themselves from pending investigations to make way for a special prosecutor.

Departing from that process, Nixon said in a statement, "could unnecessarily inject legal uncertainty into this matter and potentially jeopardize the prosecution."

McCulloch, a Democrat, was elected in 1991 and has earned a reputation for being tough on crime.

The streets of Ferguson filled once more with protesters Tuesday evening, but the scene was much more subdued than on any of the previous five nights, with smaller crowds. For the hours, the protest was lively but peaceful. After midnight, tensions rose as officers tried to remove the relatively small number of protesters who had not left. Several people were seen in handcuffs before most of the remaining crowd headed home.

Earlier in the day, Ferguson city leaders urged people to stay home after dark Tuesday to "allow peace to settle in" and pledged to try to improve the police force in the St. Louis suburb.

In a public statement, the city said the mayor, the City Council and employees have been exploring ways to increase the number of African-American applicants to the law enforcement academy, develop incentive programs to encourage city residency for police officers and raise money for cameras that would be attached to patrol car dashboards and officers' vests.

"We plan to learn from this tragedy, as we further provide for the safety of our residents and businesses and progress our community through reconciliation and healing," the statement said.

Benjamin Crump, an attorney for Brown's family, said the 18-year-old's funeral and memorial service would be Monday. The time and location had not been finalized.

Earlier Tuesday, a large crowd gathered in nearby St. Louis after officers responding to a report of a store robbery shot and killed a knife-wielding man. Police Chief Sam Dotson said the suspect acted erratically and told responding officers to "kill me now."

Some members of the crowd shouted, "Hands up, don't shoot," a phrase that has been a refrain of protests since Brown's death on Aug. 9. Like Brown, the 23-year-old suspect killed Tuesday was black.

A grand jury could begin hearing evidence Wednesday to determine whether the officer, Darren Wilson, should be charged in Brown's death, said Ed Magee, spokesman for St. Louis County's prosecuting attorney.

Wilson was recognized during a Ferguson City Council meeting in February, getting special recognition for what Police Chief Thomas Jackson said then was his role in responding to a report of a suspicious vehicle, then struggling with the driver and detaining him until help arrived. Jackson said the suspect was preparing a large quantity of marijuana for sale.

Attorney General Eric Holder was scheduled to travel to Ferguson on Wednesday to meet with FBI and other officials carrying out an independent federal investigation into Brown's death.

In an essay posted late Tuesday on the St. Louis Post-Dispatch website, Holder said the bond of trust between law enforcement and the public is "all-important, but it is also fragile."

Arrest patterns "must not lead to disparate treatment under the law, even if such treatment is unintended. And police forces should reflect the diversity of the communities they serve," Holder wrote.

The Justice Department has mounted an unusually swift and aggressive response to Brown's death, from an independent autopsy to dozens of FBI agents combing Ferguson for witnesses to the shooting.

---

Associated Press writers Alan Scher Zagier in Ferguson, Jim Salter in St. Louis and David A. Lieb in Jefferson City contributed to this report.

© 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Learn more about our Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.


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Dennis August 20 2014 at 9:00 AM

The Mayor wants to explore ways to put more blacks on the police department? How? They are mostly illierate and 90% have criminal records. So how can they qualify for the job? Oh wait, lets lower the standards some more and allow criminals on the police departments.

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7 replies
billcdaly August 20 2014 at 9:55 AM

The governor never should have stepped in yesterday and called for a "vigorous prosecution".
It shows extreme bias on his side, before all the facts are in.

I guess he really wants to secure the black voter base.

Flag Reply +27 rate up
4 replies
JOSE--USMC--0311 August 20 2014 at 7:49 AM

HOW ABOUT A SPECIAL PROSECUTOR FOR THE IRS--LOIS LERNER'S E-MAIL INVESTIGATION ????? NOT IN OBAMA INTEREST, LOL.

Flag Reply +25 rate up
5 replies
billcdaly August 20 2014 at 10:05 AM

Will a grand jury indictment be the result of the facts or the result of tremendous pressure put on them by the governor and inbound AG?

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4 replies
drb107 August 20 2014 at 9:53 AM

These people in Ferguson are making the US look like a middle east country. These people are more then protestors they are terrorists, plus thieves. When does stealing show respect for a dead person. Like I said before, turn the camera's off and these people will go home

Flag Reply +23 rate up
3 replies
JOSE--USMC--0311 August 20 2014 at 7:45 AM

BLACKS WOULD LOVE TO SEE AL SHARPTON AS THE PROSECUTOR, LOL..
I HOPE IF THOSE IDIOTS OF OBAMA CHARGE THE OFFICERS , I HOPE THEY TAKE THE TRIAL OUT OF FERGUSON, AN ALL BLACK JURY WON'T BE FAIR TO THE OFFICER...WE WILL HAVE ANOTHER O.J. SIMPSON JURY--CASE.

Flag Reply +23 rate up
8 replies
barryaclarke August 20 2014 at 11:29 AM

"black leaders who question his ability to be impartial" Hmmm, talk about folks who are calling the kettle black (No pun intended)

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3 replies
Paul August 20 2014 at 11:12 AM

Comments not working on story with picture of MASKED protestors. Why are 'peaceful' protestors wearing masks ???

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3 replies
shalhoubalbert August 20 2014 at 10:15 AM

Gov. Jay Nixon has put himself in the forfront of the problem in Missouri. He is another official who should let the system run it's course. When all the evidence is in the truth will come out

Flag Reply +14 rate up
beasmommom August 20 2014 at 12:40 PM

First, if you keep committing crimes, sooner or later you are going to run into someone who has suffered in some way from your crime. Well, that is what is now happening. Furthermore, it is completely out of line to make the assumption that the prosecutor cannot be impartial because a black man shot and killed his father. Sorry, that is profiling in its most ironic form.

Second, as an American citizen, I am appalled that a STATE SENATOR would write the prosecutor and threaten him with rioting that will make the current rioting seem like a picnic if he doesn't step down from the case.

I am disgusted by the behavior of this particular black community.

Flag Reply +9 rate up
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