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County Attorney for Minneapolis Eliminates Grand Juries for OIS Investigations

March 17, 2016  | 

Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman will eliminate the long-standing and secret use of a grand jury in police-involved shootings, including the death of Jamar Clark.

For the first time in at least 40 years, Freeman and several of his top prosecutors will investigate and determine whether or not there will be charges against two Minneapolis officers involved in the fatal shooting of Clark in November. A decision in the case is expected by the end of the month.

Activists who had long pushed Freeman's office not to use a grand jury in the Clark shooting praised the decision, crediting multiple protests and demands for accountability, the Star Tribune reports.

"I am overjoyed that in this instance Mike Freeman decided to do the right thing," said Nekima Levy-Pounds, president of the Minneapolis NAACP. "Mike Freeman is fully aware that the grand jury process has been ineffective here and nationally in holding officers accountable. I believe sustained community pressure played a huge role in Mike Freeman's decision."

The grand jury process has been criticized by anti-police activists in the wake of police-involved deaths around the United States that resulted in no indictments.


Comments (9)

Displaying 1 - 9 of 9

kevCopAz @ 3/18/2016 2:26 PM

this means all OIS will be charged then since political county attorneys wont want the public upset at them, They will take all cases to court and when they lose blame the jury. If he wants to do it that way he should end the grand jury system for all homicide, bet he not do that.

Tyrus Moulder @ 3/20/2016 1:50 PM

It's interesting how the public believes that a vast majority of OIS events are unjustified examples of excessive force. Perhaps Ms. Levy-Pounds could see her way clear to focus on the broken communities and the specific residents who perpetuate the cycle of violence on their own.

Robert @ 3/21/2016 8:51 AM

KevCop..you are missing a few big details.
1. A citizen would be arrested, placed in jail on a huge bond...and left to rot while the Grand Jury process takes place. All of this is done on the DAs opinion today. The arrest warrant is usually NOT able to be challenged in court, unless you are very rich and have an attorney on retainer who can argue within 24 hours you don't belong in jail.
So for the rest of the public the system is as you described...one other big difference: The LEO is on a paid vacation and never sees the inside of a jail until convicted (and maybe not then..Peter Liang??).
As for your supposition...I think you have the right idea

ALL LEO shootings where the citizen was not armed should go straight to a public trial by a jury of their peers (or bench trial). Victim holding a Gun, knife, stick/club, fake gun, etc...should go to the DA to decide OR a grand jury where the public later gets to hear the evidence.

Robert @ 3/21/2016 9:55 AM

Tyrus..I don't believe that more than 5-10% of LEO shootings are not legal. However, the majority of this board feels that 100% are justifiable...and that a LEO should only be judged by LEO (since no one else knows their job).
But here is what I do believe:
1. The reason you see more cases being prosecuted is that video is making it harder to lie. The Walter Scott case...it was obvious the LEO was trying to stage the scene...if there was not video, there would be no charges. Do you think that was a legal shooting?
2. I believe that all LEO shootings of an unarmed citizen should go to a jury trial.
3. I believe that there is a very strong blue wall of silence...where LEO, even those that would never commit a crime, will cover for those that do commit crimes. I believe that the PBA / unions foster this environment. I believe the LEBOR is BS!
4. I believe that if civil damages are awarded, the LEO should be fired (large awards) or strongly disciplined (small awards).

Sheriffs Explorer Sgt. @ 3/29/2016 9:45 AM

kevcopAZ You are right. This guy will be swayed by public opinion. I'm afraid that those two officers will be charged. And for nothing except to make the naacp happy. Not to mentioned black lives matter. The guy got killed because he was stupid and attacked the Officers. Mr. Freeman probably doesn't look at it that way. Robert, the only thing the Officer did wrong was to shoot Walter Scott in the back. And before 1960-something a Police Officer could legally shoot a fleeing felon to stop him from getting away.

Percy @ 3/29/2016 3:12 PM

Sheriffs Explorer Sgt. says "Robert, the only thing the Officer did wrong was to shoot Walter Scott in the back. And before 1960-something a Police Officer could legally shoot a fleeing felon to stop him from getting away".

Wow are you going to make a great cop.
Boy if only you could turn back the clock and move to Mississippi.

You seem to forget trying to plant evidence lickspittle.

Sheriffs Explorer Sgt. @ 3/29/2016 9:29 PM

You're right, I will make a great Police Officer. Planting evidence??? That didn't occur. I watched the video, did you? Or rather did you interpret it correctly? I've always loved Mississippi. Its a very conservative state. That's probably why you don't like it. By the way, thanks for the new name.

Robert @ 3/30/2016 11:28 AM

SES...how can you interrupt moving the taser 30' so that is was right next to the body vs back where it was fired.
How can that NOT BE staging the scene / planting evidence.
You are simply beyond the pale of rational thought.

Sheriffs Explorer Sgt. @ 3/30/2016 4:51 PM

Robert, rational thought is not something you, percy, or leonard are skilled in. I'll even dare to suggest that the media are liars. If the video shows the Officer planting the tazer, then maybe it was edited. Why do you think it took the guy so long to come forward with his supposed evidece.???

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