Bob McCulloch | St. Louis Public Radio

Bob McCulloch

Joshua Williams is serving an eight-year prison sentence for actions during a 2014 protest in Berkeley.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Joshua Williams always stood out in a crowd. Even during the tense and chaotic 2014 Ferguson protests, Williams could easily be spotted in the signature red hoodie that he rarely went without.

Williams was 18 years old at the time, the same age as Michael Brown when he was shot and killed by police — and old enough to leave home against his mother’s wishes to join the front lines to protest Brown’s death.

Wesley Bell celebrates with his supporters at La Mexicana in St. Ann on August 7, 2018. He drew on a broad coalition of voters to beat Bob McCulloch 57 percent to 43 percent.
David Kovaluk | St. Louis Public Radio

Wesley Bell’s victory in the Democratic primary for St. Louis County prosecutor demonstrated an ability to construct a broad coalition of support while also turning out voters in traditionally African-American areas of the region.

Bell, who beat seven-term incumbent Bob McCulloch by 17 percentage points Tuesday, will be the first African-American to hold the post.

Wesley Bell, candidate for St. Louis County prosecutor, votes at First Presbyterian Church in Ferguson on Tuesday morning. Aug. 7, 2018.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

If Missourians proved anything on Tuesday, it’s that they aren’t predictable when it comes to how they vote.

Less than two years removed from endorsing President Donald Trump and a slate of GOP statewide aspirants, voters overwhelmingly repealed the party’s signature policy, right to work, from the law books. But instead of backing candidates that won the blessing of organized labor groups, St. Louis and St. Louis County voters decided to go in very different directions.

Wesley Bell, who defeated the longtime St. Louis County prosecutor Bob McCulloch, addresses an exuberant crowd at La Mexicana in St. Ann on August 8, 2018.
David Kovaluk | St. Louis Public Radio

In a stunning upset, Wesley Bell easily beat longtime St. Louis County Prosecutor Bob McCulloch in Tuesday’s Democratic primary.

With no Republican running, Bell’s primary win essentially clinches the office, which will make him the first African-American to hold the St. Louis County prosecutor’s post.

Ferguson City Councilman Wesley Bell, left, is challenging seven-term incumbent Bob McCulloch, right, in the Democratic primary for St. Louis County prosecutor.
Jason Rosenbaum and Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Bob McCulloch won a seventh term as St. Louis County prosecutor on Aug. 5, 2014. Four days later, 18-year-old Michael Brown was fatally shot in Ferguson.

Brown’s death at the hands of a white police officer brought the racial disparities in the region’s criminal-justice system to the forefront and made national figures of both McCulloch and his opponent in the Democratic primary, Wesley Bell.

St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger confers with Councilman Pat Dolan at a Dec. 19, 2017, meeting of the St. Louis County Council.
File Photo | Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

This week’s Politically Speaking takes a look at three competitive elections in St. Louis County. It comes as relations between St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger and the St. Louis County Council have deteriorated.

Stenger is facing an expensive bid for re-election against businessman Mark Mantovani. St. Louis County Prosecutor Bob McCulloch is engaged in an increasingly high-profile race against Ferguson City Councilman Wesley Bell. And two Democrats are challenging Councilman Pat Dolan’s bid for re-election.

St. Louis County Prosecutor Bob McCulloch. Photo taken July 24, 2018 for his Politically Speaking appearance
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis County Prosecutor Bob McCulloch joined the Politically Speaking team to talk about his bid for re-election to an eighth term.

McCulloch is one of the longest-serving elected officials in Missouri. He’s squaring off against Ferguson City Councilman Wesley Bell in the Aug. 7 primary. Because no Republican filed for the position, the winner of the August contest is all but guaranteed a four-year term.

St. Louis County Councilman Ernie Trakas
Alex Heuer I St. Louis Public Radio

A special prosecutor is recommending that St. Louis County Councilman Ernie Trakas forfeit his post because his legal work for school districts violates the county charter.

The prosecutor’s petition, filed late Friday, is expected to set off a process that could force Trakas off the council within a few months. Trakas is part of a bipartisan, four-person council coalition that frequently is at odds with County Executive Steve Stenger, a Democrat.

St. Louis County Prosecutor Bob McCulloch announceson Nov. 24, 2014, that a grand jury has chosen not to charge Darren Wilson in Michael Brown's death.
File photo | Bill Greenblatt | UPI

A member of the grand jury that decided to not charge a former Ferguson police officer in the 2014 shooting death of Michael Brown will likely head to federal court to challenge Missouri’s rules around grand jury secrecy.

The juror wanted to be able to violate the oath of secrecy to “contribute to the current dialogue around race relations” and to correct what the juror saw as misconduct by St. Louis County Prosecutor Bob McCulloch.

The Missouri Supreme Court on Tuesday declined to hear the case. Two lower courts have said the state’s oath requiring grand jury secrecy does not violate the rights of the unidentified grand juror.

St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney Robert McCulloch announces on Nov 24, 2014, that the grand jury declined to indict Darren Wilson on any of five counts that were presented to it.
File photo | Bill Greenblatt | UPI

Updated Dec. 12 at 4:50 p.m. with comments from Tony Rothert and Bob McCulloch — The Missouri Court of Appeals has become the latest to rule against a grand juror who wants to speak about what it was like to consider charging former Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson with a crime in connection with the 2014 shooting death of Michael Brown in Ferguson.

Grand jurors take an oath of secrecy when they are sworn in. The unidentified juror wanted to be able to violate that oath in order to “contribute to the current dialogue around race relations” and to correct what the juror saw as misconduct by St. Louis County Prosecutor Bob McCulloch. In a unanimous opinion issued Tuesday, the appeals court said no.

Bob McCulloch is sworn in for another term as St. Louis County Prosecutor in 2015.
File photo | Bill Greenblatt | UPI

Updated Thursday, Nov. 30 with new comments from McCulloch:

 

St. Louis County Prosecutor Bob McCulloch blames “political vindictiveness’’ for the County Council’s decision to get rid of a pension increase for his job that it had approved last year.

Council Chairman Sam Page says the issue is fairness.

 

Bob McCulloch is sworn in for another term as St. Louis County Prosecutor in 2015.
File photo | Bill Greenblatt | UPI

Nearing the end of his seventh term, St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney Bob McCulloch says he plans to seek an eighth one next year because he says he still has unfinished business.

“I truly enjoy the work,” McCulloch told St. Louis Public Radio.

This will be McCulloch’s first time on the ballot since a grand jury he oversaw in 2014 declined to indict a Ferguson police officer for killing a black man. That episode touched off sharp criticism from protesters who had sought more police accountability.

An illustration of Missouri death-row inmate Marcellus Williams.
Rici Hoffarth | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated at 5:15 p.m. with McCulloch statement — Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens cited new DNA evidence in postponing Tuesday’s scheduled execution of Marcellus Williams.

Greitens also will appoint a five-member board of inquiry that will include retired Missouri judges. That hasn’t happened since 1997, according to Greitens spokesman Parker Briden.

Marcellus Williams' execution was postponed in August.
Missouri Department of Corrections

Updated at 1:30 p.m. Aug. 21 with governor's office declining comment — A nonprofit that seeks to overturn wrongful convictions has asked Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens to put Tuesday’s scheduled execution on hold.

The Midwest Innocence Project said new DNA evidence presented last week shows Marcellus Williams didn’t kill former St. Louis Post-Dispatch reporter Felicia Gayle in 1998.

St. Louis County prosecutor Bob McCulloch announceson Nov. 24, 2014, that a grand jury has chosen not to charge Darren Wilson in Michael Brown's death.
File photo | Bill Greenblatt | UPI

Updated at 3:10 p.m. Aug. 16 with comments from oral arguments, new headline  — A grand juror who was on the panel that did not  charge ex-Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson in the death of Michael Brown asked the Missouri Court of Appeals on Wednesday for the right to speak about that experience.

St. Louis County Councilman Pat Dolan, D-Richmond Heights, July 2017
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

On the latest edition of the Politically Speaking podcast, St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum and Jo Mannies welcome St. Louis County Councilman Pat Dolan to the program for the first time.

Bob McCulloch is sworn in for another term as St. Louis County Prosecutor in 2015.
File photo | Bill Greenblatt | UPI

The St. Louis County Council gave Prosecutor Bob McCulloch — with unanimous consent — a retirement-pension boost last year. That same council might take it away.

The council will begin hearings Tuesday on a bill to do just that, with several council members contending that County Executive Steve Stenger mislead them last year. He denied that charge and said his adversaries on the council knew exactly what they voted on, deepening the rift that’s been exposed in recent months.

Screenshot from security camera video / St. Louis County Prosecutor's Office

Updated at 4:35 p.m. March 13 with comment from Ferguson police chief, attorney for convenience store and security footage — A security video made public over the weekend that shows Michael Brown at a Ferguson convenience store about a half-day before his death was a "poorly edited snippet" of something that was deemed "not relevant" to the grand jury investigation, the St. Louis County prosecutor said Monday.

State court rejects request by Wilson grand juror to speak about the process.

Dec 15, 2016
St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney Robert McCulloch announces on Nov 24, 2014, that the grand jury declined to indict Darren Wilson on any of five counts that were presented to it.
File photo | Bill Greenblatt | UPI

This story has been updated to reflect events since it was initially published. A member of the grand jury that decided not to charge former Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson in the August 2014 death of Michael Brown will not be able to share information about that experience.

A St. Louis County judge dismissed the grand juror’s suit on Tuesday. Judge Ellen Ribaudo wrote that the juror had not shown why the state laws around grand jury secrecy should not apply in his or her case. And while prosecutor Bob McCulloch chose to make some evidence from the grand jury public, Ribaudo said, not every detail needed to be released.

St. Louis County Prosecutor Bob McCulloch and St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar announce on March 15, 2015, the arrest of suspect Jeffrey Williams in shooting of police
File photo | Wiley Price | St. Louis American

A young man accused of shooting and wounding two police officers outside the Ferguson Police Department in March 2015 will take his case to trial.

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