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Missouri AG: Ferguson Grand Jury Was Misled On Deadly Force Statute

In 1985 the Supreme Court amended this law to include a "probable cause" requirement under Tennessee v Garner and the jury wasn't informed of this until three months later.

Via Frank Vyan Walton at Daily Kos, verification of bad instruction given to the jury:

Subsequent to a previous report from Lawrence O'Donnell the Missouri Attorney General has confirmed with Last Word that they instructions given the Michael Brown Grand Jury describing the Police "use of force" laws was incorrect and misleading.

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The background of this situation is that Lawrence O'Donnell reported that after reviewing the transcripts of the Darren Wilson Grand Jury, his analyst discovered that Assistant District Attorney's working for Bob McCullough gave the Jurors an outdated copy of Missouri Lawthat all that was required for an Officer to use deadly force is their "reasonable belief" that there was a threat.

In 1985 the Supreme Court amended this law to include a "probable cause" requirement under Tennessee v Garner and the Jury wasn't informed of this until 3 months later just before their deliberations, nor even at that time was the difference and relevance of this explained to them clearly.

The misleading information was given to the Grand Jury directly before Darren Wilson's testimony giving the impression that all that was required under the law for Wilson to kill Michael Brown was his belief that he was in danger, without the additional requirement ofprobable cause for such a belief.

The Missouri AG now proclaims that was wrong and the Missouri Law needs to be changed and updated to reflect the Supreme Court's ruling.Continue over the fold to read more.

O'Donnell: The Missouri Attorney General says "The Police Use of Deadly Force Law in Missouri must be changed." in response to my question to the Attorney General he said:

"Among the problems that Ferguson has brought to light is the need to update Missouri's use of deadly force statute. This statute is inconsistent with the Supreme Court's holding in Tennessee v. Garner. Consequently, it is important this statute be amended by the Missouri legislature to incorporate the Garner decision to avoid confusion in the criminal justice system." --Chris Koster, Missouri Attorney General.

O'Donnell: As I have stated on this program there should be no confusion in the criminal justice system because the United States Supreme Court clarified the proper, and legal, and constitutional use of deadly force by police, 29 years ago.


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There are two clear possibilities here. Either the St. Louis County District Attorney's Office was aware of this conflict and deliberately attempted to give the Grand Jury a false impression of the law, only to slip in a unclear, unexplained "correction" at the last minute which would be far too weak to override the prevailing impression gained from weeks of testimony which had been reviewed through a jaundiced lens...Or...The St. Louis County and other DA's throughout the state have been regularly misleading juries and grand juries with the mistaken and wrong impression that probable cause is not required for law enforcement before deliberate deadly force can be deployed legally because they just don't know any better.

And worse even still, are Officers walking the streets of Missouri - or other states - also under this incorrect impression that all they need to use deadly force is to "feel threatened"?

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