As citizens around the United States are increasingly losing confidence in law enforcement and the criminal justice system, State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman would like New York’s governor to grant him power to override local attorney generals in cases involving police killing unarmed citizens.
Following the high-profile cases of Eric Garner and Mike Brown in which officers killed unarmed men and didn’t have to stand trial, protests have erupted in major cities and stories of callous use of lethal force pop up frequently. The state attorney general said that he wants to be given the special powers by executive order in an effort to restore confidence in the justice system. Schneiderman said in his letter Monday morning:
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. The question is whether there is public confidence that justice has been served, especially in cases where homicide or other serious charges against the accused officer are not pursued or are dismissed prior to a trial by jury.”
Schneiderman believes that the families of victims are getting the impression, whether right or wrong, that local prosecutors are “influenced by the close working relationships they have with local police.”
No action by Governor Cuomo is expected until at least the January legislative session begins. For now protests continue and the momentum for change is strong.