ST. LOUIS -- The victory of Ferguson city Councilman Wesley Bell in the Democratic primary for St. Louis County prosecutor this week is leading to calls for Bell to reopen the investigation into the shooting death of Michael Brown by a Ferguson police officer in 2014.
Those calls have come on social media and elsewhere, including the executive director of the Thurgood Marshall Civil Rights Center in a Washington Post op-ed Friday.
Bell spokeswoman Josi Nielsen declined Friday to comment on the issue, saying that Bell will do so soon. Nielsen said that Bell was aware of the requests for a reinvestigation, however.
Brown's mother called on Missouri Gov. Mike Parson, a Republican, to reopen the investigation in an online petition last month.
In a letter accompanying the petition, Lezley McSpadden-Head said St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney Robert McCulloch's office presented a case to the grand jury before the police investigation was over and allowed witnesses to lie to grand jurors. She also faulted the quality of the investigation by police and prosecutors and mentioned a grand juror's lawsuit seeking to speak about the case.
After growing slowly at first, there were nearly 16,000 signatures Friday afternoon.
Justin Hansford, who is also an associate professor of law at Howard University, says in the op-ed that McCulloch has historically been reluctant to charge police in shootings. He also faulted the investigation. "Brown's killing remains a gaping wound in the nation's psyche," he said.
McCulloch and his defenders have long rejected the accusations against him, and pointed to a federal investigation that found that physical evidence and "credible" witnesses supported then-Officer Darren Wilson's version of the events that led to his shooting of Brown.
Also Friday, McSpadden-Head said she plans to run for a seat on the Ferguson City Council.
(Joel Currier of the Post-Dispatch contributed to this report.)
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