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Lawmaker wants special prosecutor for all officer-involved incidents

A Missouri lawmaker wants to require the appointment of a special prosecutor for all officer-involved shootings or other uses of force.

Representative Gail Beatty filed House Bill 773 Monday. She said she got the idea after the violence and protests that ensued after the Grand Jury decided not to indict Officer Darren Wilson in the shooting death of Michael Brown.

Beatty explained that there is often a public perception that local prosecutors are reluctant to pursue criminal charges against officers and it causes distrust in the system.

“The police departments work on a regular basis with our prosecutors’ offices and therefore there’s already a relationship developed there,” Beatty said. “So the idea was to put someone in control where there is less bias, that has no relationship to the case, and then we’d probably have a lot more trust in that particular process.”

The current statute in Missouri allows for a special prosecutor for these cases, but doesn’t require one.

The Democratic Representative said she hasn’t heard of any opposition just yet, but one concern she thought would come up was funding.

She said under there is funding for these special prosecutors under the current statute when they are used, so she doesn’t think it will be a problem.

But right now, there is no word on what extra burdens the measure would put on prosecutors across the state.

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