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Brown's Parents Renew Call For Special Prosecutor

Michael Brown's parents, Michael Brown, Sr. (far left) and Lesley McSpadden (center) at a rally in August 2014.
Jason Rosenbaum |St. Louis Public Radio

Michael Brown's parents are renewing their call for a special prosecutor in the investigation into the fatal police shooting of their son citing "compelling and rising concerns of conflict."

In a letter written by their attorney, Lesley McSpadden and Michael Brown Sr., asked Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon on Monday to reconsider replacing St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney Bob McCulloch. Nixon declined to remove McCulloch when he had the power to do so during the state of emergency imposed during August's unrest.

Brown's parents noted a decision by McCulloch's office to put on hold five cases in which Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson, who shot Brown, would testify. McSpadden and Brown wrote that this demonstrates a "special working relationship" with Wilson that creates a "potential for bias" on McCulloch's part.

"In light of recent developments, the appointment of a special prosecutor is now necessary more than ever, both to protect the appearance of a possible conflict of interest and to ensure that no bias exists," the letter reads.

However, a spokesman from McCulloch's office called the decision "typical" in such a situation.

Defending McCulloch

Asked about the letter on Monday, U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., came to her fellow Democrat's defense.

Calling McCulloch "one of the most respected and experienced prosecutors in Missouri," McCaskill noted he has prosecuted police officers in the past and has been re-elected several times by his constituents. She also said the only way McCulloch could be removed at this point is if he recused himself, which she called a "tall order" that could have ramifications on other cases in his office.

McCaskill also said there are checks in place for those who believe McCulloch can't be fair in the grand jury process, particularly the simultaneous U.S. Department of Justice investigations into the shooting.

"If you do not believe Bob McCulloch could be fair, then you should rest assured it is a good thing that we have made sure that the U.S. government is checking his work," she said.

McCaskill also pointed to McCulloch's promise to release all testimony and evidence to the public if an indictment is not handed down, or to make it public during a possible trial.

"So the community will be able to judge for themselves whether or not this has been a fair process," she said. "You've got the promise of transparency of what is typically a secret proceeding, and you've got the federal government looking at the over the shoulder making sure the work is done right."

"I hope those two things together, will bring some level of comfort to the community that seems to have caught onto this one thing as something that feels tangible that they can accomplish now."