New York State’s attorney general on Monday asked the governor to authorize his office to investigate deaths at the hands of police following the outcry over the killing of a Staten Island man.
Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, in a letter to Gov. Andrew Cuomo, said that authority exists under New York law, has been used in the past and is needed now because of the “crisis of confidence” in law enforcement.
The attorney general’s authority would apply to cases after the executive order is signed and last until the state Legislature acts to permanently address the issue. It wouldn’t apply to the case of Eric Garner.
“In New York, and across the country, the promise of equal justice under law has been eroded by a series of tragedies involving the death of unarmed persons as a result of the use of force by law enforcement officers,” Schneiderman wrote. “All too often, the families of the victims and the members of their communities are left with the belief that our criminal justice system has both unjustly targeted and inexplicably failed them.”
Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson said he’s adamantly against Schneiderman’s proposal. “Local prosecutors who are elected to enforce the laws in those communities should not be robbed of their ability to faithfully and fairly do so in cases where police officers shoot, kill or injure someone unjustly,” he said.