Jackson blasts Ill. police shooting probe

Dec. 27, 2009 at 4:50 PM
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ROCKFORD, Ill., Dec. 27 (UPI) -- Two witnesses should have been interviewed by an Illinois grand jury before it cleared two police officers in a shooting, the Rev. Jesse Jackson says.

Speaking Sunday in Rockford, Ill., at the scene of the fatal police shooting of Mark Anthony Barmore four months ago, the civil rights leader said justice was ill-served when a Winnebago County, Ill., grand jury cleared officers Oda Poole and Stan North without hearing from a day-care operator and her daughter who claim Barmore did not struggle with police as authorities claim, the Rockford (Ill.) Register Star reported.

Sheila Brown and her 17-year-old daughter, Marissa Brown, were called to testify before the grand jury Wednesday but didn't show because they were spending Christmas with relatives in Mississippi, Jackson said.

"They made plans for the sacred season and they could not undo those plans," Jackson told the Register Star. "To make it December 23, the day before Christmas Eve, is more like manipulation than truth."

Winnebago County State's Attorney Joe Bruscato told reporters the scheduling was circumstantial, but those at a meeting with Jackson said it was a deliberate attempt to prevent the Browns from testifying.

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