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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 7/8/16

On Imposing Accountability

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Author 90704
Message Terry Sneller


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Why are officers of the law allowed to shoot and kill citizens and not be prosecuted?

Well, consider this brief overview of the current legal processes involved, when an officer of the law kills a citizen:

It starts when the local government prosecutor -- whose mandate is to attempt to convince a secret Grand Jury to seek an indictment -- presents his evidence. It should be pointed out, that there are no records kept of the proceedings and that there are no representatives for the defense present.

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Critically, it must be kept in mind that this prosecutor may spend his entire career working directly with members of the police department. Routinely, when building a criminal case, the prosecutor must rely on those officers for their cooperation in providing case details, evidence, witnesses, interviews, court appearances, etc. Therefore, is it even conceivable that ANY prosecutor -- who is interested in being effective inside his tight-knit legal community -- would seriously attempt to bring to trial even one police officer and thus risk being "black balled" by the balance of his local police force? Not very likely!

So there is the bottleneck in our legal system. We have established, and are using, a process which is not only NOT conducive to prosecuting police officers who are guilty of murder, but instead structured to thwart that very process.

Perhaps, because I'm not a lawyer, the solution seems quite simple, to me. I purpose that in cases involving a police shooting of a citizen, all legal proceedings should be passed up to a higher, perhaps specially convened, court. For example, if the shooting occurred in a municipal district, it should be passed up to a state system; a state police shooting would go to a Federal jurisdiction.

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It seems to me, that by changing the way in which these cases are initially treated in the legal system, we would impose some long overdue accountability -- which would not only act as a deterrent for the police officers, but also more readily identify and remove those who are psychologically unfit for that challenging occupation.

(Article changed on July 9, 2016 at 10:40)

 

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