After a grand jury cleared Ferguson Officer Darren Wilson of any wrongdoing after shooting and killing an unarmed teenager in August, reports are now saying there were flaws in the grand jury key witness account.
“Witness 40,” identified as Sandra McElroy, was diagnosed at age 16 with bipolar disorder and has not been on medication for over 25 years. She has posted several racist messages and other messages in favor of Wilson via numerous social media accounts.
In interviews with police, FBI agents, and federal and state prosecutors, the eyewitness delivered information that proved to be false and biased towards Wilson. Apparently, McElroy wasn’t even near the scene of the shooting.
The Smoking Gun examined criminal, civil, matrimonial, and bankruptcy court records, as well as online postings and comments to unmask McElroy as “Witness 40.”
McElroy provided the federal investigators with an account that neatly tracked with Wilson’s version of the fatal confrontation. She claimed to have seen Brown and Johnson walking in the street before Wilson encountered them while seated in his patrol car. She said that the duo shoved the cruiser’s door closed as Wilson sought to exit the vehicle, then watched as Brown leaned into the car and began raining punches on the cop. McElroy claimed that she heard gunfire from inside the car, which prompted Brown and Johnson to speed off. As Brown ran, McElroy said, he pulled up his sagging pants, from which “his rear end was hanging out.”
But instead of continuing to flee, Brown stopped and turned around to face Wilson, McElroy said. The unarmed teenager, she recalled, gave Wilson a “What are you going to do about it look,” and then “bent down in a football position…and began to charge at the officer.” Brown, she added, “looked like he was on something.” As Brown rushed Wilson, McElroy said, the cop began firing. The “grunting” teenager, McElroy recalled, was hit with a volley of shots, the last of which drove Brown “face first” into the roadway.
McElroy then provided a rather vivid, blow-by-blow story on why she was in Ferguson at the time of the incident.
When asked what she was doing in Ferguson—which is about 30 miles north of her home—McElroy explained that she was planning to “pop in” on a former high school classmate she had not seen in 26 years. Saddled with an incorrect address and no cell phone, McElroy claimed that she pulled over to smoke a cigarette and seek directions from a black man standing under a tree. In short order, the violent confrontation between Brown and Wilson purportedly played out in front of McElroy.
When McElroy testified before the grand jury, her story changed. She went from “popping in” on a former classmate to being an urban anthropologist seeking to understand African-American neighborhoods.
McElroy, again under oath, explained to grand jurors that she was something of an amateur urban anthropologist. Every couple of weeks, McElroy testified, she likes to “go into all the African-American neighborhoods.” During these weekend sojourns—apparently conducted when her ex has the kids—McElroy said she will “go in and have coffee and I will strike up a conversation with an African-American and I will try to talk to them because I’m trying to understand more.”
McElroy also hopped on Facebook, where she inevitably supported Wilson in the case.
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.”
This is not the first time the eyewitness has fabricated a story. In 2007, she lied about a tale concerning a St. Louis boy who was held captive for more than four years.
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 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.”
The Smoking Gun tried multiple times to reach McElroy by email and numerous Facebook messages, which she has yet to reply to. There is no way of knowing exactly what impact McElroy’s testimony had on the members of the grand jury, which declined to indict Wilson for Brown’s death.
SOURCE: The Smoking Gun | PHOTO CREDIT: Screenshot