Margaret Moore, the Travis County, Texas, district attorney, announced Wednesday that her office no longer will present every police shooting to a grand jury, reports the Austin American-Statesman. She said she will evaluate each case in which police use deadly force and determine if there may have been a criminal act or if facts about a shooting are in dispute. She created a new Civil Rights Division to assist in those investigations. In the past, the Travis County prosecutor presented each police shooting to a grand jury.
Austin civil rights attorney Jim Harrington issued a blistering reaction, saying the new policy gives too much discretion to prosecutors and too much protection to police. “Margaret Moore’s newly-announced approach is nothing more than ‘trust me’ to do the right thing in police shootings and give grand juries less oversight in cases involving police shootings,” said Harrington, founder and director emeritus director of the Texas Civil Rights Project. He added, “District attorneys in Travis County historically have somersaulted backwards to protect police from grand jury investigations. Moore’s new policy is a double somersault backwards.”