Ferguson Prosecutor Will Not Pursue Perjury Charges Against Witnesses

Ferguson Prosecutor Will Not Pursue Perjury Charges Against Witnesses

Prosecutors do not plan to pursue perjury charges against witnesses in the Michael Brown case who changed or recanted their stories, or whose testimony was contradicted the physical evidence, according to St. Louis County prosecutor Robert McCulloch. McCulloch made this statement while speaking to reporters after announcing that a Ferguson grand jury had decided to not indict Officer Darren Wilson for shooting Brown, as Breitbart Texas reported earlier.

The case has inflamed racial tensions in the community — Officer Wilson was white, and Brown was black — and there have been numerous protests since the story broke, occasionally breaking into arson, assaults, and other violent acts. It was not in dispute by either side that Wilson shot Brown or that Brown was not armed at the time. There were, however, multiple conflicts in eyewitness testimony, and witnesses who changed their stories.

“Eyewitness statements must always be challenged and compared with the physical evidence,” said McCulloch, specifically addressing claims that Brown had been shot in the back or while running away, which were contradicted by the autopsy report showing that all bullet wounds were in the front of Brown’s body, among other conflicts between the physical evidence and eyewitness statements. McCulloch described multiple witnesses as changing or retracting their  stories.

“There are a number of witnesses who truly believe what they said,” said McCulloch, even though what they were claiming happened was in conflict with the physical evidence. Other witnesses did acknowledge that they had not been accurate after being confronted with physical evidence that contradicted their stories, with some admitting that they had adopted comments they had overheard in the community as their own. Other witnesses made a statement to police, but were unavailable or unable to be located to testify in front of the grand jury.

McCulloch told the reporters that there were no intentions to try to pursue charges against any of the witnesses for perjury. Arguably, such charges could be possible, because testimony in front of a grand jury is under oath and subject to prosecution for perjury.

McCulloch concluded the press conference by calling for peace and for the community to take the time to heal. “No young man should ever be killed by a police officer, and no police officer should be put in that situation again [where he has to use deadly force],” said McCulloch. “This is a horrible tragedy and we don’t want to see any repeats.”

Breitbart News has reporters on the ground in Ferguson and will continue to follow this breaking news story.

Follow Sarah Rumpf on Twitter at @rumpfshaker


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