ST. LOUIS • A federal judge signed an order Monday laying out protections for evidence from the investigation of the fatal police shooting of Michael Brown Jr. before it will be handed over to lawyers in a lawsuit by Brown’s family.
The Post-Dispatch reported in April that U.S. District Judge E. Richard Webber had decided to release the information. It includes the names of grand jury witnesses as well as witness interviews and statements made to police and the FBI, statements read to grand jurors and autopsy photographs.
That grand jury decided not to indict Ferguson Officer Darren Wilson, who claimed self-defense in the killing in 2014 that triggered riots and drew international attention. Last year, Brown’s family sued Ferguson, former Police Chief Thomas Jackson and Wilson.
Both sides in the case have spent weeks negotiating terms of a protective order that places strong restrictions on the transmission and sharing of the information, and lays out procedures for depositions of witnesses and investigators.
Only two lawyers and limited staff on each side of the case are allowed access to the information, which has to be locked up and cannot be sent by email, the order says.
Lawyers for the officials and Brown’s family sought the information, saying that the case could not proceed without it. But lawyers for the federal government and St. Louis County police and prosecutors balked, saying that no protective order could be crafted that could keep the information secret.
Prosecuting Attorney Robert McCulloch had released a version of the evidence, with names and some other information redacted, the night the grand jury delivered its decision.