In NY, a Special Prosecutor for Police Killings, for Now


Amid national debate over holding officers criminally accountable for killings by police, New York is giving such cases special consideration by appointing the attorney general to investigate them, for now.

With lawmakers unable to agree on an approach as the legislative session ended, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Tuesday he’d use executive power to appoint Eric Schneiderman for a year as special prosecutor for police killings.

“I don’t believe this is the perfect alternative, but I believe it is the best alternative at this time,” said Cuomo, adding that he’d keep working toward legislation next year.

Some advocates who called for reform are praising the move. But district attorneys say it usurps a role they believe they play fairly and honorably, and relatives of people killed in New York police encounters say the temporary measure doesn’t go far enough.

“There’s this false narrative out there that prosecutors turn their heads when the accused is a police officer, and that’s just not true,” said Erie County DA Frank Sedita III, the president of the state district attorneys’ association.