Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon drew criticism from his own Lt. Governor Tuesday when he said “a vigorous prosecution must now be pursued” in the shooting death of black 18-year-old Michael Brown by white police Officer Darren Wilson in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson.
Nixon made the comment in a videotaped statement in which he said he would not remove St. Louis County Prosecutor Bob McCulloch from the case despite the demands of some black leaders who believe that McCulloch’s deep family ties to law enforcement would affect his impartiality. 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.
In his statement, Nixon cited what he called 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.”
“We have a responsibility,” Nixon said, “to come together, and do everything we can to achieve justice for [Brown’s] family.” Nixon added that McCulloch and U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder had an obligation “to achieve justice in the shooting death of Michael Brown must be carried out thoroughly, promptly, and correctly.”
“It’s really heartbreaking to see a man elected to an office that high in our state government … come out with a statement like that, that does prejudge the case,” Missouri Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder told Fox News’ Shepard Smith late Tuesday. “It would be wrong for a prosecutor to say what the governor has said here tonight and it’s wrong for the governor of Missouri to have said it.”
Nixon wants so-called justice for Michael Brown. Apparently the officer isn’t entitled to this justice he speaks of. What a creep:
@GovJayNixon Vigorous prosecution? You've got to be kidding me. Way to stay neutral. When is your term up?
— Steve (@stanzman1) August 20, 2014
Vigorous prosecution when no one has been arrested or charged. Sounds like something Stalin would do. @GovJayNixon
— Ryan B. Leslie (@RyanBLeslie) August 20, 2014