Police shootings not all equal; but politics clouds reviews in each

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No doubt that the police shootings in Ferguson, Missouri; Cleveland, Ohio; and Chicago all have very different facts. But one thing that seems the same: In each, the prosecutors are faced not just with the details of what happened, but with politics in how and when the cases are handled.

In Ferguson, the local prosecutor seemed to leave it up to a grand jury to decide whether to indict the officer in the shooting of Michael Brown, after an exhaustive grand jury in which legal experts contended the prosecutor aggressively questioned the testimony of its own witnesses.

In Chicago, State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez has become the subject of sharp criticism for waiting a year to indict officer Jason Van Dyke in the shooting death of Laquan McDonald despite a video of the incident that was kept under wraps until a judge ordered its release last month. And now in Cleveland, the family of the victim appears at odds with the prosecutor,  who continues to release information that seems to telegraph that no indictment is likely against the officers who shot a teenager branding a toy gun. “We have never seen a prosecutor try so hard to lose a case,” the lawyer for the boy’s mother is quoted as saying.

 

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