Sacramento, CA – Already passing one hurdle, a bill that would eliminate grand juries in officer-related shootings passed the State Senate Thursday and moves on to the Assembly.
SB 227 would prohibit the use of the criminal grand jury in cases of officer-involved shootings, or in cases where excessive force used by an officer results in the death of a suspect. Author of the bill, Sen. Holly Mitchell, D-Los Angeles, says secrecy in grand jury proceedings was intended to protect the reputations of persons not indicted; but today with the internet, cell phones and video cameras, the original purpose of the grand jury is lost. Instead, she says it keeps the public from being fully informed in those trials that involve officers accused of abusing their power. The bill would put the decision of whether or not to prosecute in the hands of locally elected district attorneys, which Mitchell says would provide accountability.