Sending Office: Honorable Henry C. “Hank” Johnson, Jr.
Request for Cosponsor(s)
Please join me in cosponsoring H.R. 4332, the Grand Jury Reform Act of 2017, legislation that would require a special prosecutor to investigate cases where law enforcement officers have killed an individual while in the
line of duty.
In May, a grand jury failed to indict a white police officer in the killing of 13-year-old Tyre King. King was chased into an alley and shot multiple times, likely
while he was running away, according to a medical examiner. The failure of grand juries to indict officers involved in killings like these has demonstrated that the biases in this system prevent equal justice. It is clear now that the nation’s grand jury system
is broken, and police officers being investigated for the killing of civilians are too often acquitted, or never charged to begin with.
The Grand Jury Reform Act conditions federal funding for local law enforcement on the requirement that a special prosecutor be appointed in any case where a law enforcement official has killed an individual while in the line of duty. The results of the special
prosecutor’s investigation would be presented in an open hearing in an attempt to demystify a judicial process usually reserved for a secretive grand jury.
The Grand Jury Reform Act also creates a mandatory timeline following the use of deadly force, requiring the chief officer of the law enforcement agency to report the death to the local elected prosecutor within 24 hours, the prosecutor to report the death
to the governor within 24 hours and a public hearing to be held within 90 days after the special prosecutor has been appointed. Within five days of the hearing, the judge must determine probable cause and notify the local elected prosecutor of the decision,
and the special prosecutor must also submit their recommendation regarding criminal charges.
The text of this bill is substantially similar to the Grand Jury Reform Act introduced in the 114th Congress.
If you have any questions or would like to co-sponsor this important piece of legislation, please contact Caroline Hunsicker in my office at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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