La. lawmaker proposes bill that would send officer-involved shooting cases to grand jury

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Days after the Louisiana attorney general decided to not file charges against the officers involved in the Alton Sterling case, one state lawmaker wants to change how those decisions are made.

Baton Rouge Representative C. Denise Marcelle says these sorts of cases, where an officer involved shooting results in death or severe injury, need to go before an independent grand jury.

As a result, under her bill, officer involved shooting cases would no longer be left in the hands of the district attorney or state attorney general. Instead, a panel made up of members of the public would get to hear the evidence and decide whether to pursue charges such as manslaughter or murder.

AG Jeff Landry took over the case after District Attorney Hillar Moore recused himself. Landry could have sent the case to the grand jury, but chose not to. Marcelle and other lawmakers say this bill is about removing the politics from these sorts of incidents.

"It's a step about transparency. It's about responsibility, and I think that is a good step in the right direction moving forward. While it possibly will not change what happened in the Alton Sterling case, it will help all people of this state and law enforcement moving forward," said Rep. Marcus Hunter, D-Monroe.

In a statement released Tuesday afternoon, Landry would not say whether he supports the legislation, but did say:

It is the prerogative of any legislator to introduce legislation to address perceived deficiencies in the law. We haven't read or seen Representative Marcelle's proposed legislation and cannot comment on it. However, creating a uniform method for the handling of officer involved shootings seems to be an issue worthy of the legislature's consideration. All stakeholders should certainly have a hand in any final legislation, including; Prosecutors, Law Enforcement Agencies, and the members of the law enforcement community. Creating greater confidence in the criminal justice system is always worth consideration.

The bill will get a hearing at the capitol later this session.

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