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Friday, January 15, 2016

Proposed Bill Would Require Ohio Attorney General to Investigate Police Shootings

Posted By on Fri, Jan 15, 2016 at 10:29 AM

  • Tim Evanson via Wikimedia Commons
Not even a month has passed since a grand jury followed Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Tim McGinty's recommendation and declined to file charges against Cleveland police in the Tamir Rice case, but the 2014 killing has still supercharged the atmosphere, not only around town but across the state. Some of that has lingered into the statehouse, where a new bill has his the senate floor directly addressing future situations like the Rice killing. 

Senate Bill 258 would require that the Ohio Attorney General's office step in on all cases involving an officer using deadly force on an unarmed individual. The AG's office can investigate these cases on their own, or hire a special prosecutor to dig into these situations. 

The bill is similar to a move by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo. Last July, New York's top politico signed off on an executive order placing the authority for these kind of lethal force investigations with the state's Attorney General. Overall, both the senate bill and Cuomo's action represent the growing distrust of local legal systems to investigate their own. 

The Ohio senate bill is being sponsored by Sen. Sandra Williams of Cleveland, along with Charleta B. Tavares of Columbus. 

“Notable grand jury hearings have grown to represent a tool for faux justice, appeasing the public’s cry for an investigation, while protecting the officer from a real prosecution,” Williams said in a release about the bill. “Senator Tavares and I believe this legislation offers a unique opportunity for law enforcement and local prosecutors to support an independent approach to how we administer justice in these cases.” 

If you want to dive into the proposed legalese, the full text of the bill is in the PDF below.

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