An infamous phrase among lawyers is that “you can indict a ham sandwich.”
In the wake of the shocking Ferguson grand jury decision not to indict Officer Darren Wilson for shooting Michael Brown, evidence has come to light explaining how the grand jury so badly missed the mark.
A key witness in Wilson’s defense, “Witness 40,” has been exposed as Sandra McElroy, a woman with a history of providing false testimony in high profile cases and referring to black people by the most derogatory of words, who changed her testimony several times before ever reaching the grand jury.
In all likelihood, Sandra McElroy provided false testimony to the grand jury, and did not witness Wilson shooting Brown.McElroy first contacted police four weeks after the shooting, long after Wilson’s story was in the press. Initally, McElroy claimed that she was driving through Brown’s neighborhood to visit a former high school classmate she had not seen in 26 years.
Later, McElroy changed her story, saying she likes to “go into all the African-American neighborhoods… because I’m trying to understand more.”
McElroy is the witness who testified she saw Brown attack Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson, pummeling him with fists as he sat in his patrol car, before running away from the gun-wielding cop, only to stop in his tracks, turn around and charge him “like a football player, head down,” which left the cop no choice but to shoot him dead.
Other witnesses testified that Brown stopped and turned with his hands in the air, which led to the “hands up, don’t shoot” protests taking place throughout the country.
Next to a clip about the disappearance of a white woman who had a baby with a black man 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.”
In the weeks after Brown’s shooting–but before she contacted police–McElroy used her Facebook account to comment on the case. On August 15, she “liked’ a Facebook comment reporting that Johnson had admitted that he and Brown stole cigars before the confrontation with Wilson. On August 17, a Facebook commenter wrote that Johnson and others should be arrested for inciting riots and giving false statements to police in connection with their claims that Brown had his hands up when shot by Wilson. “The report and autopsy are in so YES they were false,” McElroy wrote of the “hands-up” claims. This appears to be an odd comment from someone who claims to have been present during the shooting. In response to the posting of a news report about a rally in support of Wilson, McElroy wrote on August 17, “Prayers, support God Bless Officer Wilson.”
After meeting with St. Louis police, McElroy continued monitoring the case and posting online. Commenting on a September 12 Riverfront Times story reporting that Ferguson city officials had yet to meet with Brown’s family, McElroy wrote, “But haven’t you heard the news, There great great great grandpa may or may not have been owned by one of our great great great grandpas 200 yrs ago. (Sarcasm).” On September 13, McElroy went on a pro-Wilson Facebook page and posted a graphic that included a photo of Brown lying dead in the street. A type overlay read, “Michael Brown already received justice. So please, stop asking for it.” The following week
Wilson’s late mother. “As a teenager Mike Brown strong armed a store used drugs hit a police officer and received Justis,” she stated.
The Smoking Gun reporters also uncovered McElroy’s long history of providing testimony that eventually proved false in high profile cases.
McElroy’s devotion to the truth–lacking during her appearances before the Ferguson grand jury–was also absent in early-2007 when 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, who also lived in Kirkwood, told KMOV-TV that she had known Devlin (seen at left) for 20 years. She also claimed to have gone to the police months after the child’s October 2002 disappearance to report that she had seen Devlin with Hornbeck. The police, McElroy said, checked out her tip and determined that the boy with Devlin was not Hornbeck.
In the face of McElroy’s allegations, the Kirkwood Police Department fired back at her. Cops reported that they investigated her claim and determined that “we have no record of any contact with Mrs. McElroy in regards to Shawn Hornbeck.” The police statement concluded, “We have found that this story is a complete fabrication.”
Undeterred by that withering blast, McElroy peddled another story to police in nearby Lincoln County, where Charles Arlin Henderson, 11, went missing in 1991. According to news reports, McElroy claimed that Devlin had given her photos he took of young boys, one of whom she knew as “Chuck” or “Chuckie.” Those images were shown to the missing boy’s mother, who said that while one of the boys in the photos resembled her son, “I’m keeping my emotions in check. I’m not going to be hurt anymore.”
By the time McElroy testified before prosecutors in St. Louis, Wilson’s account of the shooting had already been published. When McElroy finally testified before the grand jury, she did so using journal entries she supposedly wrote the day Michael Brown was shot, “Because that’s how I make sure I don’t get things confused because then it will be word for word,” said McElroy, who never mentioned her journal when she spoke to federal investigators a day earlier.
Justice might be blind, but even a blind man could see that Sandra McElroy completely made up her story, and needed a journal to remember all her lies.