McCulloch: Nixon has 'no legal authority' to remove county from Ferguson security

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by Adam McDonald /KMOV.com staff

KMOV.com

Posted on August 15, 2014 at 7:09 PM

ST. LOUIS (KMOV.com staff) – St. Louis County Prosecutor Bob McCulloch says Governor Jay Nixon had "no legal authority" to remove the St. Louis County Police Department from security in Ferguson.

"First, there was no legal authority for the governor to step in and do that," McCulloch said. "Secondly, there was no practical reason for the governor to do that. It was already implemented."

McCulloch says St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar and Missouri Highway Patrol Captain Ron Johnson had been working together and were in constant contact with McCulloch, involving him in their investigation. McCulloch also says a plan was already in place for a shift in police tactics before Governor Nixon held his press conference.

"That plan was developed by this command staff which included Captain Johnson and all the other commanders," McCulloch said. "That [the press conference] should not have happened. At bare minimum, [Nixon] should have sat down with the commander, Chief Belmar, and discuss the night before what it was about and what their plan was."

St. Louis County Executive Charlie Dooley says he is now calling for the State Attorney General to assign a special prosecutor to the Michael Brown case. "I think his objectivity is in question now and I think he is part of the problem," said Dooley. "We remove that problem until we get a solution."

McCulloch says it's not uncommon for officials to request a special prosecutor for large cases, but says his record proves he is capable. "The people of this county have placed their trust in me and they've done that for a reason. That's because I've been fair and impartial and done as thorough a job as I could. There is always going to be criticism."

According to Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster, state law prevents him or the governor from replacing McCulloch. Only a judge has the ability to appoint a special prosecutor.

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