Grand jury “Witness 40,” whose testimony helped Officer Darren Wilson escape criminal charges in the fatal shooting of Michael Brown, has been revealed as a virulently racist St. Louis woman with serious credibility issues.
The Smoking Gun reported Monday that information gathered from the unredacted portions of the grand jury transcript had identified the witness as 45-year-old Sandra McElroy, a divorced mother of five who was diagnosed as bipolar as a teenager.
She admitted to grand jurors that she had pleaded guilty in 2007 to two counts of felony check fraud, and she also testified that she had suffered from memory problems since suffering serious head injuries in a 2001 car wreck.
The website, which reported that details from court records matched up with the background of the witness, described McElroy as a “fabulist” whose “law enforcement interviews are deserving of multi-count perjury indictments.”
McElroy first contacted police Sept. 11, four weeks after Wilson shot and killed the 18-year-old Brown during a confrontation – and after the officer’s version of events had been described in media accounts.
She had been commenting on the high-profile case for weeks through her Facebook account, telling another commenter Aug. 17 that an unspecified investigative report and the autopsy had “confirmed” that Brown’s hands were not raised, as the teen’s friend had claimed.
McElroy did not mention at that time that she had been present as a witness to the fatal shooting, The Smoking Gun reported.
She continued posting online comments after meeting with St. Louis police, such as making a sarcastic comment about Brown’s ancestors being owned as slaves 200 years ago.
She also posted a photo Sept. 13 on a pro-Wilson Facebook page of the slain teen’s body lying in the street, captioned: “Michael Brown already received justice. So please, stop asking for it.”
McElroy set up a Facebook donation page, First Responders Support, after Brown’s shooting, but it’s not clear how much money she raised or where it was donated.
McElroy was interviewed Oct. 22 – the day after the St. Louis Post-Dispatch published a lengthy account of Wilson’s version of events — at the FBI field office by an agent and two federal prosecutors.
She claimed she had driven 30 miles from her home to Ferguson to visit a high school friend she hadn’t seen in 26 years, but had no cell phone and an incorrect address, so she stopped to smoke a cigarette and ask directions from a black man standing beneath a tree.
That’s when she allegedly witnessed the fatal shooting unfold.
McElroy’s account closely backed the police version of events, claiming that Brown repeatedly punched Wilson during a confrontation and then turned and fled as Wilson fired his gun.
She told investigators that Brown stopped to pull up his sagging pants, which had revealed his “rear end,” and then turned around, lowered his shoulders, and charged toward the patrol car like a football player as he continued to be struck by a volley of gunshots.
“I know what I seen,” McElroy told skeptical investigators. “I know you don’t believe me.”
The FBI special agent interviewing McElroy doubted she was actually at the scene of the shooting, and noted that McElroy had expressed a desire to help Wilson.
“So you are posting racist things online and you are telling us, you know, and you are telling us, you know, your account and then there are videos that doesn’t show your car,” the special agent said. “And then there is a map that shows you couldn’t (have) left the way you left from… But, obviously, we find out what people’s motivations are when you say you posted things online that are racist and you come in here and tell us an account that supports Darren Wilson… You raised money for Darren Wilson.”
State prosecutors asked McElroy to testify during the grand jury hearing one day after she met with federal investigators, and she told the panel that she had written down her account the day of the fatal shooting – although she hadn’t mentioned the journal the day before.
She returned 11 days later, as prosecutors asked, with handwritten journal pages.
McElroy testified under oath to the grand jury that she had not been looking for a black former classmate but was actually in Ferguson to learn more about African-American culture by striking up conversations with random black people she met.
“Well Im gonna take my random drive to Florisant,” she wrote in the journal. “Need to understand the Black race better so I stop calling Blacks Niggers and Start calling them People.”
She admitted that her sworn testimony no doubt contained information she had read online about the case, but she repeated her claims that she witnessed Brown charge Wilson “like a football player” in a hail of gunfire.
Fox News host Sean Hannity cited McElroy’s testimony – which he claimed came from a black grand jury witness — in an interview with the Brown family’s attorney.
“I understand everybody’s upset, I know you’re working with the Brown family attorney – but who acts like that?” Hannity asks attorney Daryl Parks. “Who acts like that in life?”
“I’m reading, ‘like a football player with his head down charging.’ Who acts like that towards a police officer?” the Fox News host repeated.
“So my question is to you, when you look at it in total, if somebody struggles for a cop’s gun after a robbery and then charges the police officer like a football player with his head down, and you’re saying — you act as though that you’re surprised that the officer had to defend himself,” Hannity said again later in the interview.
The Smoking Gun reported that McElroy’s YouTube and Twitter pages were also littered with racist commentary, referring to black people as “thugs,” “monkeys,” and “apes,” and she has posted content questioning the birthplace of President Barack Obama.
Her very first tweet was to Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), the website reported, urging the Tea Party lawmaker in October 2013 to continue the government shutdown to end “obama care.”
McElroy claimed a connection to a criminal case in 2007 after a missing St. Louis boy was rescued from the home of Michael Devlin, where he had been held captive for four years.
She told KMOV-TV that she had known Devlin, who lived in the same town, for 20 years and had contacted police months after the boy disappeared in 2002.
Kirkwood police, however, said they found no record of any contact with McElroy in relation to the case.
“We have found that this story is a complete fabrication,” police said in a statement at the time.
She claimed a connection to another missing person case in nearby Lincoln County, telling investigators there that Devlin had given her photos of a boy who went missing in 1991.
However, investigators determined that Devlin was involved in only one other missing person case – a 13-year-old boy who was abducted four days before he was arrested.
Watch Hannity discuss McElroy’s testimony in this video posted online by iizthatiiz: