Cuomo Names NY AG As Special Prosecutor In Police Killing Cases


New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo gave the state attorney general the authority to prosecute cases in which a police officer kills a civilian, nearly a year after Eric Garner died in a confrontation with police on Staten Island, the Wall Street Journal reports. Cuomo's executive order authorizes the attorney general, now Eric Schneiderman, to pursue cases in which a law-enforcement officer kills an unarmed civilian or cases in which “there is a significant question as to whether the civilian was armed and dangerous at the time of his or her death.”

Across the U.S., several black men have been killed in encounters with police officers, raising questions about how those cases are handled by district attorneys and grand juries. Critics say there are conflicts of interest for district attorneys because they work closely with police. Such complaints were widespread after grand juries declined to indict police officers after the deaths of Michael Brown in Missouri and Garner, two black men who were unarmed when they were confronted by police. Cuomo said the order made New York the first state to adopt such a special prosecutor. Patrick Lynch, head of the New York City police union, called the measure unnecessary. Lynch, of the Patrolmen's Benevolent Association, said “our concern is that there will be pressure on a special prosecutor to indict an officer for the sake of public perception, and that does not serve the ends of justice.”

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