Senator Claire McCaskill (D., Mo.) gave St. Louis County prosecutor Robert McCulloch a forceful vote of confidence amid calls from within her own party that he not be involved in the case of the shooting death of Ferguson, Mo., man Michael Brown.
Critics question McCulloch’s objectivity, and suggest that he will be sympathetic to Darren Wilson, the police officer who shot Brown, because McCulloch’s family has served on the police force and his father was killed on the job by a black man in the 1960s. On Tuesday, Governor Jay Nixon, a Democrat, refused to remove McCulloch from the case, saying McCulloch can recuse himself if he feels compelled to do so.
McCaskill, who has known McCulloch for decades, said he has one of the best county prosecutor’s offices in the country and suggestions that he cannot be objective are unfounded. “I know he is fair,” she told MSNBC.
“We have a process in the country where people are elected,” McCaskill said. “You don’t come along and just remove someone from that job unless it is under the powers of an emergency.”
Ultimately, Nixon can remove McCulloch if he chooses to by using state-of-emergency powers, and his refusal to do so shows he too has confidence in McCulloch, McCaskill added.
McCaskill’s support is likely to rankle some of her fellow Democrats in the state, as well as left-leaning commentators following the situation. For example, state senator Maria Chappelle-Nadal has said McCulloch should not be involved in the case. Ferguson Democratic committeewoman Patricia Bynes has also questioned his capacity to fairly prosecute the case.