Gov. Andrew Cuomo Appoints Special Prosecutor to Oversee Murder Cases Involving Police

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New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) signed an executive order Wednesday appointing a special prosecutor to handle cases involving civilians who die at the hands of police. 

“We have seen this all across the country where there’s a lack of trust in the criminal justice system, triggered by a particular case,” Cuomo had told reporters on Tuesday, according to Capital New York. “And the basic argument is always the same. That they don’t trust the prosecution because of the connections with the police. And a criminal justice system doesn’t work without trust.”

Cuomo had previously said the executive order, which puts state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman in charge of prosecuting police-involved killings, would be in effect for just one year. But on Wednesday the governor announced the executive order would last indefinitely, or as long as the sitting governor of New York wishes.

Calls for such a special prosecutor grew loud late last year after a Staten Island grand jury — overseen by District Attorney Daniel Donovan —declined to the indict the officer involved in the death of 43-year-old Eric Garner. A viral video showed a New York City Police Department officer putting Garner into a department-prohibited chokehold, which proved fatal, during an arrest nearly a ago.

The grand jury’s decision set off massive protests across the city and the country. Protesters argued there is an inherent conflict in having local district attorneys prosecute police officers with whom they work closely on other cases.

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Source: Black Voices | 

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