Family Members of New Yorkers Killed by Police Respond to Cuomo’s Latest Comments on Special Prosecutor in Police Killings

Posted on 06/26/2015 @ 05:47 PM

Tags: Governor Cuomo, New York, Police Reform, Police

In response to Governor Cuomo announcing that he will issue an executive order to authorize the appointment of a special prosecutor for police killings of “unarmed” civilians for one year, a group of the family members of New Yorkers killed by police over past decades, who had led the call for a special prosecutor in all police killings, released the following joint statement.

“While Governor Cuomo has acknowledged our experiences of being repeatedly abused by the criminal justice system through the killing of our loved ones by police and failure to hold officers accountable, he has not held up his end of the commitment to us based on his own words in the past few days. Governor Cuomo agreed that he would authorize appointment of a special prosecutor for all police killings and deaths of people in police custody. His remarks today indicating his intent that the Attorney General's office would only act as a special prosecutor for cases of unarmed people is contrary to what he committed to. The reality is that we have seen police departments claim in initial reports that victims were armed to justify their use of deadly violence only to find out later that wasn’t the case or there is scant evidence, like in the shooting death of Walter Scott in South Carolina. A special prosecutor needs to be able to investigate all cases and make that determination themselves, not restricted by a loophole in an executive order.

“We simply want Governor Cuomo to live up to the commitment he made to us and we remain willing to work with his office to make sure this executive order is done correctly and in accordance with our agreement with him. These substantive issues are too important for justice and the safety of children and families from our communities throughout the state. The executive order must give the Attorney General's office full authority and resources for investigations and prosecution -- in ALL cases where an individual is killed in a police incident or dies in custody of the police, not leaving the merits of an investigation up to local police departments’ or authorities’ accounting of events. It also must not have a sunset date, leaving families and New Yorkers once again at risk and vulnerable to the failures of the criminal justice system and local district attorneys’ conflicts of interest.”

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