Bill to Investigate Cop-Related Deaths Like Eric Garner’s Fails in State Senate

April 23, 2015 | Prachi Gupta

A bill that would enable the state attorney general to investigate deaths of unarmed civilians in altercations with the police has failed in the state Senate. Capital reports that it was “voted down 20-16” in the GOP-led Senate Finance Committee.

The bill was proposed by Democratic Conference Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins after Eric Garner died at the hands of an NYPD officer and aimed to “create an office of special investigation within the office of the attorney general to investigate and, when appropriate, prosecute local police officers,” according to Capital.

The New York Daily News reports that the bill faced opposition from Senate Republicans and from district attorneys:

The Senate Finance Committee voted down the measure along party lines.

Senate GOP spokesman Scott Reif cited opposition by district attorneys.

Stewart-Cousins accused the GOP of blocking reforms needed to ensure that “all New Yorkers, regardless of age, race or gender, are treated with respect and equality.”

Even New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman has asked the governor for the right to “investigate deaths of unarmed civilians at the hands of police,” the WSJ reported, but the idea was faced with opposition from “several district attorneys.”

Senator Kevin Parker (D-Brooklyn) was disappointed with the bill’s failure and suggested that if the victims of police brutality had been white, perhaps this bill would have passed. “If a white man were being gunned down by police, we would have passed this bill three months ago,” he said.