(New York, NY)—LDF joins a chorus of voices – comprised of civil rights organizations, community leaders, and elected officials – in support of a proposal advanced by New York Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman to investigate, and if necessary, prosecute cases involving killings of unarmed civilians by New York police officer. Attorney General Schneiderman’s announcement, made in the wake of a Staten Island grand jury’s failure to indict the New York police officer who choked Eric Garner to death, comes at a time of diminishing faith that the criminal justice system can hold police officers accountable for their misconduct. The Attorney General’s proposal, outlined in a letter to Governor Andrew Cuomo, invokes New York legal provisions that authorize the Governor to direct the Attorney General to investigate and prosecute criminal offenses. As envisioned by the Attorney General, the Governor’s order would expire when the New York state legislature has enacted similar reforms designed to eliminate the biases that taint a local district attorney’s decision to investigate and prosecute police officers.
Statement From Sherrilyn Ifill: “We wholeheartedly support Attorney General Eric Schneiderman’s request to be appointed as a special prosecutor in police-involved deaths and his call for changes in the law that will institutionalize this practice. In fact, we believe special prosecutors should be appointed in all cases where police misconduct is at issue. Placing the authority for investigating and prosecuting cases involving police abuse with an independent and impartial prosecutor will help to ensure that biases, conflicts of interest and politics do not infect systemic efforts to hold police accountable for their conduct and [to] ensure the integrity of the process for all.”
For the full press release, click here.