As we previously reported, Ferguson prosecutor Bob McCullough admitted that he presented false information to the grand jury in the Darren Wilson case. Specifically, a mentally unstable woman with a racist and criminal past, who was most likely nowhere near the shooting, was allowed to testify to over the course of two days.
‘Witness 40,’ as she was known in court documents, was found by The Smoking Gun (TSG) to be St. Louis resident, Sandra McElroy. During proceedings, McElroy presented an account of the events that backed up what Officer Wilson had said – that Brown charged at him like a football player.
Despite claiming to be on the scene when the attack occurred, for some reason, McElroy waited about four weeks before contacting police to give her statement. By that time, Wilson’s description of what happened had already been extensively reported by the media. McElroy also met with FBI investigators the day after an article in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch posted an in-depth article of exactly what Wilson had told investigators about the shooting. Her story, of course, parroted Wilson’s account almost exactly.
When asked what she was doing in Ferguson that day since she lives about 30 miles away, McElroy said she was planning to “pop in” on a former classmate from high school she hadn’t seen in nearly 30 years. She had the wrong address and no cell phone, and claimed she “pulled over to smoke a cigarette and seek directions from a black man standing under a tree,” TSG reported.
While on the stand, McElroy told the jury that “On August 9th after this happened when I got home, I wrote everything down on a piece of paper. Would that be easier if I brought that in?” One of the prosecutors told her she could, and McElroy returned 11 days later with her journal entries.
One entry dated August 9th read, “Well I’m gonna take my random drive to Florisant [sic]. Need to understand the Black race better so I stop calling Blacks Niggers and Start calling them People.”
A TSG investigation into McElroy’s past found a history of mental illness, racism, and numerous dealings with the courts.
McElroy testified in the grand jury proceedings that she suffers from bipolar disorder but has “not taken medication for the condition for about 25 years.” She also told the court that she has struggled with her memory since 2001 when she was “catapulted through the windshield” in a 2001 car crash in St. Louis.
On Facebook, McElroy made several comments and “liked” posts related to the case. She “liked” a comment which reported that Michael Brown had stolen cigars, commented on a post regarding whether or not Brown had his hands up when shot and said “The report and autopsy are in so YES they were false, and commented on a post for a rally supporting Officer Wilson, “Prayers, support God Bless Officer Wilson.” All of these took place in between the shooting and McElroy contacting police about her supposed witnessing of the events.
McElroy’s checkered past also includes filing for bankruptcy protection in 2004, which would be unremarkable except that the lawyer handling McElroy’s case withdrew after McElroy “repeatedly used profanity when speaking with Counsel’s secretary which escalated to the use of racial slurs.”
Her YouTube page, which appears to be shared with her daughter, is littered with more examples of McElroy’s racism.
“Next to clip about the disappearance of a white woman who had a baby with a black man,” reported TSG, “is the comment ‘see what happens when you bed down with a monkey have ape babies and party with them.’ A clip about the sentencing of two black women for murder is captioned, ‘put them monkeys in a cage.’”
The page is also filled with a myriad of anti-Obama videos, including one that claims the First Lady admitted President Obama was born in Kenya. McElroy even subscribed to a “We Are Darren Wilson” video channel.
McElroy’s other run-ins with the court system include civil suits for “failing to pay rent and other bills,” and two felony charges for writing bad checks.
And the case in Ferguson isn’t the first time McElroy inserted herself into a criminal investigation. In 2007, “she fabricated a bizarre story in the wake of the rescue of Shawn Hornbeck, a St. Louis boy who had been held captive for more than four years by Michael Devlin, a resident of Kirkwood, a city just outside St. Louis.”
McElroy claimed to have gone to police months after the boy’s disappearance to tell them that she had seen him with Delvin. The police reported that they had “no record of any contact with Mrs. McElroy in regards to Shawn Hornbeck,” and that her story was “a complete fabrication.”
She also claimed that Devlin had given her photos he had taken of other young boys, including Charles Henderson, who went missing in 1991. She even went so far as to take a picture of a boy who resembled Henderson to the boy’s mother. A police investigation into Devlin’s involvement in other cases concluded that his only victims were Hornbeck and a 13-year-old boy abducted four days before his arrest, and he had no connection with the Henderson case.
Despite all of this information that speaks to McElroy’s racist views, mental instability, and fraudulent past, Ferguson prosecutors still allowed her to take the stand. They knew her testimony was false, but presented the evidence anyway.
Just how much this woman’s fabricated statements influenced the jury is unknown, but they should have never heard her testimony in the first place. Because they did, an even bigger cloud of skepticism is now hanging over their decision not to indict.