Grand Jury Gets 2nd Case on Ferguson Officer
CLAYTON, Mo. (AP) — A county judge on Monday approved a request by prosecutors to let a grand jury review a 2013 drug case in which an arresting officer was the suburban St. Louis police officer who fatally shot 18-year-old Michael Brown last month.
An attorney for Christopher Brooks alleges Ferguson officer Darren Wilson “roughed up” his client after he refused to hand over the keys to a locked car parked in his grandmother’s driveway, where police say they found drug paraphernalia and several ounces of pot.
“Wilson is compromised as a witness,” said defense attorney Nick Zotos, who opposed the request by Prosecuting Attorney Robert McCulloch’s office to shift the drug case to a panel that meets behind closed doors.
It wasn’t clear whether Brooks’ made the allegation against Wilson before or after Brown was killed, and the prosecutor’s office provided no immediate comment.
A police union attorney who has spent decades representing members of law enforcement in court told The Associated Press Monday that he represents Wilson, who is under a grand jury investigation over whether he used excessive force in the August shooting death of Brown.
James P.Towey, general counsel for the Missouri Fraternal Order of Police and a former general counsel for the St. Louis Police Officers Association, said Wilson may be willing to publicly discuss the case in the future. He declined to provide details of the whereabouts of Wilson, who has gone into hiding since Brown’s death.
Wilson, 28, received a Ferguson City Council commendation for his role in Brooks’ arrest in February 2013. Zotos questioned whether the honor was merited.
“We give trophies every day for just showing up,” he said after the brief hearing in St. Louis Circuit Court. “If you play on the team, you get a trophy.”
Zotos wants the marijuana distribution charge against Brooks dismissed because he doesn’t expect Wilson, who did not attend the preliminary hearing, to show up in court.
The same grand jury also is reviewing evidence in the Aug. 9 death of Michael Brown to determine whether Wilson should face criminal charges in a shooting that led to violent protests, hundreds of arrests, the summoning of the Missouri National Guard for security and international attention. McCulloch has said he expects the grand jury to complete its work on the Brown shooting by mid-October or early November, though its term has been extended until January.
The assistant prosecutor, who did not publicly identify himself in court, did not indicate during Brooks’ hearing why the county wants to shift the case to the grand jury.