Protesters demand charges, special prosecutor in Brown shooting

Hundreds of demonstrators gathered outside the Boone County Courthouse Thursday evening.

Hundreds of residents gathered outside the Boone County Courthouse Thursday evening to call for quicker action on the shooting death of Michael Brown.

Missouri NAACP President Mary Ratliff told KRCG 13 she wanted charges filed against Darren Wilson, the Ferguson police officer who shot Brown. A grand jury convened on Thursday to review the case, but St. Louis County Prosecutor Bob McCulloch said it could be mid-October before it reaches a conclusion.

"If (Wilson) is innocent, then he would have been given an opportunity in the court of law, just as everybody else, to prove himself," Ratliff said.

Ratliff and others led the crowd in songs from the civil rights marches of the 1960s between speeches by local activists. Columbia attorney David Tyson Smith said he did not consider a grand jury to be vigorous prosecution. He noted grand juries always meet behind closed doors, contrary to protesters' demands for greater transparency, and added grand jury indictments should not take two months.

"This is a shell game," Smith said.

Ratliff said McCulloch should recuse himself from the case given his ties to the police. His father, Paul McCulloch, was a police officer with the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department who was shot and killed in the line of duty in 1964. Gov. Jay Nixon has said he will not replace the prosecutor but has suggested he might want to recuse himself. Attorney General Chris Koster has said he has no authority to name a special prosecutor in the case.

"He has family that worked in that police department," she said. "He should recuse himself without anybody having to say so."

During the rally, Ratliff urged demonstrators to be peaceful but persistent. She said she plans to continue protesting the case until she feels justice has been served.