Will Ferguson Police Officer Be Indicted for Michael Brown's Death?
Fox News legal analyst Peter Johnson Jr. weighed in this morning on the factors at play in the investigation of the death of Michael Brown, as conflicting evidence continues to emerge. A grand jury may begin hearing evidence as early as tomorrow.
St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney Bob McCulloch is overseeing the case that will determine whether police officer Darren Wilson faces criminal charges for the Aug. 9 shooting death of the unarmed 18-year-old.
Johnson pointed out that McCulloch's father was a police officer murdered by a black suspect in a 1964 shootout. Given that factor, some have called for McCulloch not to handle this case, citing concerns about his impartiality.
Another controversy cited by Johnson was the fact that McCulloch declined to prosecute in another high-profile police shooting case.
McCulloch's spokesman, Ed Magee, said Monday that the prosecutor plans to remain in charge of the case, despite mounting pressure to step aside amid violent clashes between police and protesters demanding that Wilson be charged.
McCulloch, a Democrat who has been in office since 1991, referenced his father's death in his initial campaign. He survived a Democratic primary earlier this month and faces no Republican opposition in his re-election bid.
Protesters questioned his objectivity when grand jurors returned no charges against two officers who fired 21 bullets into a vehicle in June 2000, killing two black men during an attempted drug arrest.
But at the time, McCulloch said his father's 1964 shooting by a black man at a public housing complex was an "incredibly irrelevant facet" as he sought to "make sure everybody gets a full and fair hearing." McCulloch was 12 when his father was killed.
U.S. attorneys also reviewed the case and decided a year later not to bring any civil rights charges against the officers.
One Democratic Missouri state senator remarked that if no indictment is brought against Wilson, then the current rioting "will seem like a picnic."
Johnson explained that hearsay is permissible in a grand jury hearing and 9 of 12 jurors must agree in order to return an indictment. No judge or defense counsel is present for the hearing.
Witnesses can assert their Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination if they choose.
Johnson also pointed out a key aspect of Missouri law that could come into play:
"In Missouri if a felon is fleeing, under certain circumstances, deadly force is allowed to be used."
Watch his full analysis above, and stay tuned to Fox News throughout the night for the latest out of Ferguson, including a special LIVE broadcast by Shepard Smith at 11p ET from the Fox News Deck.