Prosecutors’ Failures Led to Decisions Clearing Police Officers of Brown and Garner Deaths

December 22, 2014  |  CRIMINAL, ETHICS, IN THE NEWS  |  Share

While prosecutors typically present their cases and ask grand juries for indictments, this was not done effectively in Ferguson, Missouri, and Staten Island, where grand juries recently failed to indict the police officers who caused the deaths of unarmed suspects Michael Brown and Eric Garner.

I spoke with Buffalo Law Journal editor and reporter Michael Petro about this breakdown in the justice system for his article “Brown, Garner Cases Raise Questions.”

Discussing what appear to be improperly built cases by the prosecution, Mr. Petro quotes me saying, “In both of these cases, the prosecution has stated that they did not walk in with an organized case. They basically walked in and said, ‘Here’s all of the evidence—knock yourself out.’ ”

Because of that, I note that “the grand juries were given the message that these cases were treated differently than others. In 99 percent of cases, the process is meant for a prosecutor to work jointly with law enforcement to prosecute a civilian, but it complicates matters when the prosecution has to look at law enforcement as the target for indictment. The message is sent that we don’t really want this indictment. When you put that together with this being a white police officer and a black victim in both cases, you have a process here that is inherently conflicted both legally on a technical level and on a public perception level. You have a very tainted and slanted process.”

Click here for the full article.

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