Prosecutor in Michael Brown shooting case fired

The new St. Louis County prosecutor, Wesley Bell, has fired the lawyer who presented the evidence in the case of Michael Brown, the black teenager whose shooting by police sparked violent protests in Ferguson, Mo.

Bell was sworn in on Tuesday, and in one of his first acts, sent a two-page letter to assistant prosecutor Kathi Alizadeh firing her, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports,

A veteran of more than 30 years in the St. Louis County prosecutor’s office, Alizadeh oversaw the 2014 Brown case.

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Alizadeh, along with former county prosecutor Robert McCulloch, was responsible for building a case and providing evidence to a grand jury. The grand jury, though, declined to indict officer Darren Wilson.

Brown was shot a total of six times in the front of his body.

The incident, which was investigated by the FBI, and the failure to secure an indictment set off days of unrest and brought a national spotlight to police shootings of unarmed people of color.

The FBI concluded that Wilson shot Brown in self-defense following a struggle for the officer’s weapon.

Bell was a Ferguson city councilman who defeated McCulloch last year in the Democratic primary, campaigning on a platform that included reforming the state's cash bail system and making changes to the culture of the prosecutor’s office.

He reportedly made three different personnel decisions in the office in his first two days.

Alizadeh told the Post-Dispatch she would be speaking to her lawyer over her termination. A request for comment from The Hill was not immediately returned. 

The St. Louis Police Officers Association, which represents most of the St. Louis County assistant prosecutors, called for the reinstatement of the county prosecutors, although Alizadeh is not covered by the union.

"The Association is dismayed by the abrupt dismissal of these three veteran prosecutors without warning or apparent justification," union president Ed Clark said in a statement. "Despite Mr. Bell’s rhetoric about building bridges with career prosecutors, he has apparently decided to suddenly discharge three dedicated public servants in his first hours in office. We call on Mr. Bell to reverse his decision and bring back the three prosecutors and their more than seventy years of combined experience."

—Updated at 5:15 p.m.