Police in Georgia shot and killed 171 people since 2010. Not one officer stood trial for those shootings. One officer was indicted by a grand jury of citizens, but the local district attorney had the charges against the officer dropped the next day.
These are the sobering numbers uncovered in the latest Atlanta Journal-Constitution/Channel 2 Action News investigation into police shootings in Georgia published over the weekend.
There are many reasons why the state’s criminal justice system always rules in favor of the officer when they shoot and kill.
One reason highlighted in the story that is likely to get attention in the coming months is Georgia’s special grand jury privileges afforded officers who face possible criminal indictment. No other state allows officers to sit in on the entire grand jury process, hear all the evidence and make a statement at the end that can not be questioned or challenged. Private citizens don’t get that privilege.
Most police shootings are justified, but in cases where the evidence is close or the officer’s actions questionable, this special privilege can make the difference between an indictment or no charges.
If you have tips about police misconduct or care to comment contact reporter Brad Schrade at firstname.lastname@example.org or 404-526-2875.