-- Lawyers for Michael Brown's parents said today that they "strenuously object" to the prosecutor and the grand jury process that cleared a police officer in the shooting death of Ferguson teenager Michael Brown.
Benjamin Crump, the family's lawyer, said that he had objected to allowing St. Louis County Prosecutor Robert McCulloch handle the case from the beginning of the case and had asked for a special prosecutor who did not have ties to the local police.
"Now after we watched him last night in his comments, we strenuously object to this prosecutor and this process," Crump said.
"We have the local prosecutor who has a symbiotic relationship with the local police and the local police officers... We could foresee what the outcome was going to be and that's exactly what occurred last night," Crump said.
Michael Brown's father, Michael Brown Sr., was standing beside Crump and Rev. Al Sharpton. Brown Sr. wore a red St. Louis Cardinals baseball cap like the one his son was wearing when he shot and killed by Officer Darren Wilson on Aug. 9. The dad also wore a T-shirt with the slogan "No Justice No Peace." The father did not speak at the news conference.
"You have broken our hearts but you have not broken our backs," Sharpton said. "We are going to continue to pursue justice."
Sharpton and Crump criticized MucCulloch's lengthy news conference Monday night in which the prosecutor detailed evidence and testimony that led to the grand jury's decision. It included details of a robbery of cigars from a nearby store by a person who matched Michael Brown's description.
The prosecutor's office also released a trove of documents and testimony from the grand jury, and while Brown's attorney's praised the transparency behind the "data dump," they also took issue with the manner in which the information was handled.
"I’ve never seen a prosecutor hold a press conference to discredit the victim... where he went out of his way to go point by point in discrediting Michael Brown who could not defend himself," Sharpton said.
"Why the one that did the killing is not going to trial, but the victim is guilty of several things that no one has established? Then to go further than that, he [McCulloch] takes his time to methodically discredit the witness, witnesses that will still be needed going forward in the ongoing federal proceedings," Sharpton said.
Sharpton accused McCulluch of using the "grand jury as a trial jury," and rather than finding probable cause for a trial he was "announcing an acquittal."