Reform needed in police cases

A special prosecutor versed in these cases would likely help.

Nearly two years before a white Cleveland police officer fatally shot a black 12-year-old boy, the Justice Department had begun a civil rights investigation into the city’s police department.

The inquiry’s outcome found a pattern of abuses, including “unreasonable and unnecessary use of force” that often ended with dangerous behavior by officers, the New York Times reported last week.

Results of the investigation were released the day after a grand jury did not indict the white New York City police officer whose chokehold killed an unarmed black man named Eric Garner.

These are just two incidents in a storyline of public unrest that traces its recent roots to this summer, when an unarmed black teenager was shot to death by a white police officer in Ferguson, Mo.

Protests against police brutality and misconduct have broken out across the nation, and those involved seem to be feeling a mixture of anger, sadness and fear.

To date, police offers in the three aforementioned incidents have not even been charged with a crime. In some cases, all the activists want is a fair trial for what they deem a suspicious death.

Police officers are very seldom charged with using excessive force. This has some experts calling for special prosecutors to handle cases when officers are accused of causing serious harm or death.

This system would remove the responsibility of hearing those cases from district attorneys and would provide an opportunity for prosecutors with more specific knowledge to hear the cases.

With the need for reform becoming more urgent by the day, we believe the United States should try having a special prosecutor for cases of excessive force by police.