Last Monday, a St. Louis County grand jury decided to not indict former Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson on charges related to his killing of Michael Brown, an unarmed teenager. Yesterday afternoon, a Staten Island grand jury voted not to indict NYPD officer David Pantaleo on any charges related to the death of Eric Garner.
In both cases, the blame can be laid directly at the feet of the prosecuting attorneys. It’s a well known (and true) adage that “a prosecutor can indict a ham sandwich.” All a prosecutor has to do is show that there’s enough evidence to warrant a charge and a trial; it’s supposed to be up to a full jury trial to determine innocence or guilt. A prosecutor can get a grand jury to do anything they want; in these two cases, the prosecutor didn’t want the officers to go to trial, so that’s what they got. Continue reading