Tags: Ferguson in Crisis | vance | police | prosecute | garner | new york

Manhattan DA: Prosecutors Have Responsibility to Investigate Police

By    |   Sunday, 07 Dec 2014 03:31 PM

Police officers and prosecutors should be "collaborative, but not cozy," and there are times when police officers need to be investigated, Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. said Sunday.

"We have a responsibility as district attorneys to investigate and, where appropriate, prosecute police officers," Vance said on NBC's "Meet The Press."  He also expressed his condolences to the family of Eric Garner, the black Staten Island man who died after a white police officer put him in a chokehold during an arrest.

Vance said that during his five years in the Manhattan office, he and his staff have "prosecuted approximately 60 or 70 police officers for cases ranging from lying on predicate facts about stop and frisk, to perjury, to rape."

And he noted that there is more that both sides can do when it comes policing and prosecuting crime, including "being more transparent and communicative about how we do our job."

Host Chuck Todd asked Vance his opinion on having a special prosecutor to handle police officer investigations, and the prosecutor said he's open to discussions on that.

"But be aware of what you ask for," said Vance. "Special prosecutors who have been reported in the past are accountable to no one. And when you're not accountable to anyone, as a D.A. is to the electorate, you're likely to get a special prosecutor, Ken Starr, for example, who can go off for years and spending millions of public dollars without result."

Prosecutors have to be aware of what may be going on in their own offices, especially when it comes to potential bias cases, said Vance, so his office brought in the Vera Institute of Justice criminal think tank to investigate its practices and plea bargain procedures to to determine if there was any racial bias going on.

"I think that's, it's, a sensible thing for modern-day prosecutor's office to do, particularly in metropolitan areas," said Vance.

Vance was part of a panel that also included Philadelphia Mayor MIchael Nutter, Fraternal Order of Police Chairman Chuck Canterbury, and Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey, who President Barack Obama appointed to chair his task force on 21st century police procedures.

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Police officers and prosecutors should be "collaborative, but not cozy," and there are times when police officers need to be investigated, Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. said Sunday.
vance, police, prosecute, garner, new york
359
2014-31-07
Sunday, 07 Dec 2014 03:31 PM
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