The Georgia Legislature is likely to review a proposal that would end some of the special privileges Georgia police harbor if they shoot and kill someone and the case goes to a grand jury for possible charges.
According to AJC.com, “Georgia is the only state that allows an officer to be in the grand jury room the entire proceeding, hear all the evidence against them and close out the proceeding with a statement that can’t be questioned by prosecutors or grand jurors. Prosecutors say it hinders justice in cases where there is a questionable shooting.”
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported, “The proposal follows a Atlanta Journal-Constitution/Channel 2 Action News investigation this year into 171 police shootings across Georgia since 2010. None of those cases went to trial and a reason that officers rarely face charges is the special privileges they receive in the grand jury room.
On Monday, Roland Martin and the NewsOne Now discussion panel talked about AJC.com’s report on the Georgia Legislature considering the proposal to limit certain police privileges and the impact of the privileges Georgia cops currently enjoy when they are called to testify at a grand jury hearing.
Martin, host of NewsOne Now, called the revelation that Georgia police have the opportunity to attend an entire grand jury proceeding and then close those proceedings with a statement that cannot be challenged, “stunning.”
“If people want to understand how our legal system is specifically geared and stacked for cops to get away with wrong-doing — this is a perfect example,” said Martin.
NewsOne Now panelist George Curry said the legal system is supposed to be “such that you have a prosecution and the defense, and out of that truth will emerge.”
“When you go to the grand jury, it’s already one-sided — you can’t have a lawyer there and it’s totally on what the prosecutor presents, and they have the additional aspect of a cop being there listening to what everybody else is saying. Then make a statement that is not cross-examined — you have no chance at a fair trial,” said the CEO of George Curry Media.
Human Behavioral Expert Cleo Manago believes, “Clearly the goal is not a fair trial, clearly the goal is not justice. This is a blatant example of justice not being the goal of the whole system.”
Avis Jones-DeWeever of the Exceptional Leadership Institute for Women touted the Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s report on the privileges Georgia police are entitled to as it relates to grand jury proceedings, “good journalism.”
“This is a complete juxtaposition to what we saw for example with the Cleveland Pain Dealer,” which seems to corroborating with Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Tim McGinty in the Tamir Rice case.
“You have to have journalists who are really after the truth and after exposing what is clearly an injustice, that allows people quite frankly to get away with murder time and time again,” said Jones-DeWeever.
Watch Roland Martin and the NewsOne Now panel discuss the Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s report in the video clip above.