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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2021 - 2022 Regular Session


Posted: March 16, 2021 09:39 AM
From: Senator Art Haywood
To: All Senate members
Subject: Independent Investigations of Deadly Force
In the near future, I will introduce legislation to require an independent investigation of any deadly force incident by police officers.
Our criminal justice system is meant to be impartial and without the presence or appearance of bias or conflicts of interest.  Public trust in law enforcement is fundamental. However, the events following the tragic deaths of Antwon Rose in Pittsburgh, George Floyd in Minneapolis, Ricardo Munoz in Lancaster and many similar cases around the country have shown that in certain circumstances, there is the appearance of conflict in the investigation of a police-involved killing that can lead the public to believe that justice is not being dispensed fairly. Civil unrest is a by-product of lack of trust in law enforcement. Community leaders have called repeatedly for independent investigations of police involved killings to trust that justice will be provided.
This legislation is intended to restore trust in law enforcement. It requires an independent investigation of any officer involved deadly force incident by the county district attorney or the district attorney’s designee, not the police department where the killing happened. This ensures the police department being investigated for deadly force will not conduct the criminal investigation of its own officers. A county district attorney also may refer prosecution of the case to another district attorney. Following the investigation, if a district attorney decides not to prosecute, the case is referred to the Attorney General for its review to determine if it should prosecute. My legislation simply focuses on fair and impartial investigations.

It is clear trust must be repaired in the criminal justice system, as protests have erupted all over the state in the wake of Antwon Rose’s death. We must restore the public’s faith.
Please join me in sponsoring this critical legislation for all citizens in the Commonwealth.