Mo. governor avoids endorsing prosecutor

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon (D) declined to back the prosecutor in the case involving the shooting of an unarmed black teenager in Ferguson, Mo. that has touched off nationwide unrest.

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African-American leaders in Missouri have criticized St. Louis County Prosecutor Bob McCulloch’s handling of the case, arguing that he is inclined to side with law enforcement officials because he has received campaign contributions from police groups and has said publicly that his father was a cop who was killed in the line of duty.

Appearing on CNN’s “State of the Union” Sunday, Nixon declined to directly support McCulloch for the Michael Brown case.

“He’s democratically elected by overwhelming numbers, and reelected,” Nixon said when he was asked if he was confident in McCulloch.

“I think clearly he has the experience, the people here have elected him,” he added. “You don’t want to pre-judge any of this.”

CNN host Candy Crowley pressed Nixon on responding directly to the criticism of McCulloch, but he said only that he was “confident with the dual investigations, justice will be served here.

“I do believe that everybody has a duty to do here. All the folks around this appreciate the pressure and the watch that’s going on here and I’m hopeful that everybody is going to live up to those duties and do a good job moving forward,” he said.

Nixon added that Brown’s funeral, which is scheduled to take place on Monday, “would be done in a context in which there is good respect and safety.

“Our focus is making sure the dual investigations…move forward and that they’re thorough,” he said.