Sergeants Benevolent Association President Edward Mullins today called for independent prosecutors to investigate cases of police killings of civilians in reaction to outrage over the non-indictment of a police officer in the homicide of black Staten Islander Eric Garner.
Mr. Mullins, a registered Republican whose union frequently endorses Democrats, suggested an independent prosecutor would increase public confidence in grand jury decisions. Some have alleged that local district attorneys like Staten Island’s Daniel Donovan, who presented evidence in this case, are too close to law enforcement to properly handle such cases.
“I think one of the ideas is having a district attorney who is not affiliated with that borough handle the case. That creates more integrity,” Mr. Mullins said. “I believe that’s a practice that should be considered and looked at, because it brings about a stronger public trust. What’s not to be gained by it?”
Mr. Mullins was careful not to impugn Mr. Donovan, a fellow Republican, however.
“No one wants to question the integrity of the Staten Island district attorney,” he said. “If we had an independent district attorney, would we be questioning that too? Maybe, maybe not.”
He also said he thought that all officers should be equipped with tasers to reduce the number of lethal encounters. At the same time, Mr. Mullins has also said New York is too dangerous to host the Democratic National Convention, angering Mayor Bill de Blasio.
“Every cop should have a taser. In some departments they do,” he said. “Could that have avoided everything? It could have.”