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Michael Brown Sr. Calls For Reopening The Investigation Of His Son’s Death

Michael Brown Sr. calls on St. Louis County Prosecutor to reopen the investigation into the fatal shooting of his son on August 9, 2019
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio
Michael Brown Sr. holds a press conference Friday on the fifth anniversary of his son's shooting death.

Michael Brown Sr. is asking the St. Louis County prosecutor to reopen the investigation into the death of his son, Michael Brown Jr.

Brown requested the reopening of the case Friday, five years after Brown, 18, was fatally shot by Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson. 

“I stand here today to discuss the unsatisfaction with the way my son’s death was handled, and I am demanding evidence to be re-analyzed and accountability to be followed,” Brown said.

St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney Wesley Bell did not say Friday whether he would reopen the case.

“Out of respect for the family and their tragic loss, as well as how sensitive this is to so many people in our region, we don’t feel it appropriate to give any further comment at this time,” he said.

In a statement released earlier this week, Bell said his office is continuing to work with local officials to tackle systemic changes.

“Our office is doing everything we can to understand the underlying issues that contributed to the tragic death of Michael Brown,” Bell said. “We are working every day with the community and law enforcement to implement policies and reforms that meaningfully address those issues, and help this community and this region heal.”

Brown said he hopes reopening the case will bring to light possible discrepancies between evidence and testimony before a grand jury. 

The grand jury decided not to charge Wilson for killing Brown in 2014. His father said he’s had several conversations with Bell over the potential reopening.

“This is not an ambush on Wesley Bell,” Brown said. “Hopefully he can see something that was flawed, and we can reopen the case.” 

The original case was brought to the grand jury by then-County Prosecutor Bob McCulloch, who was criticized by some residents and activists for how the investigation was handled. 

Bell defeated McCulloch in November to become the county’s first African American prosecuting attorney.

A 2015 investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice found Wilson did not commit federal civil rights violations. Brown said the Justice Department made a mistake by not recommending charges against Wilson.

“Five years today, I lost my first born, my only son,” Brown said. “Although I have been forced to learn how to cope with his absence, I will never grasp the fact that my son will no longer be here and justice has not been served.”

The federal investigation found that the Ferguson Police Department violated civil rights and that African Americans were disproportionately targeted by police. 

The press conference to call for a new investigation began a day in which Brown and his nonprofit, Chosen for Change, were commemorating Michael Brown’s life.

Follow Chad on Twitter @iamcdavis

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Chad is a general assignment reporter at St. Louis Public Radio.

Send questions and comments about this story to feedback@stlpublicradio.org.