In the aftermath of several high-profile police-involved shootings, New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said on Tuesday that he was preparing to issue an executive order naming the state attorney general as a special prosecutor for police-related civilian deaths, according to The New York Times.
The governor said his hope is that independent investigations will help restore public faith in the criminal justice system, notes the report.
From The New York Times:
A criminal justice system doesn’t work without trust,” Mr. Cuomo said. “We will be the first state in the country to acknowledge the problem and say we’re going to create an independent prosecutor who does not have that kind of connection with the organized police departments.”
He said that he thought he had assuaged New Yorkers calling for greater oversight of police-related deaths when he announced last month that he was directing Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman to investigate all such cases over the next year. The governor had pushed for legislation to create an independent monitor to review cases in which unarmed people were killed by officers. But he failed to reach an agreement with legislators before the session ended. As a result, the governor said, he was appointing Mr. Schneiderman by executive action.
Calls for police oversight have surged since a chokehold by a police officer led to the death of Eric Garner, an unarmed black man, on Staten Island in 2014. Despite video showing the chokehold, which is not allowed under police rules, and a medical examiner’s labeling of Mr. Garner’s death as a homicide, a grand jury declined to indict the officer. Responding to a national outcry over the failure to indict, Mr. Cuomo said last year that he would order a thorough review of the criminal justice system.
Congratulations to the governor on taking this important step. We look forward to seeing positive changes in accordance.
SOURCE: The New York Times | PHOTO CREDIT: Getty