Harrisburg – May 1, 2019 – State Senator Art Haywood (D-Montgomery/Philadelphia) released the following statement after reintroducing his legislation calling for independent investigation of police involved shootings today:
“The acquittal of the officer who shot teenager Antwon Rose in the back three times and killed him revives the perception of bias in our criminal justice system. Over 100 people from the Pittsburgh area rallied at the Capitol Tuesday to demand change. Part of the change needed is independent investigations and prosecutions of police involved shootings. Independent investigations can help restore trust in law enforcement.”
Senate Bill 611 bill would take the prosecution of the deadly force incident out of the hands of the local district attorney and into the hands of a special prosecutor in the office of the Pennsylvania Attorney General. The Attorney General’s office would investigate the case and avoid the conflict that may arise from a local district attorney.
Senator Haywood reintroduced Senate Bill 611 this session after the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus held their police oversight rally in the State Capitol on Tuesday to support of holding law enforcement accountable when exercising extreme force. After the death of Pittsburgh teen Antwon Rose in 2018, there is a renewed need to review cases where deadly force is used by police officers because the public perception is that justice is not always given to victims.
“Not just Michael Brown or Sean Bell, but here in Pennsylvania we have a case of an unarmed citizen shot and killed by the police followed by public outcry, anger and protest after the acquittal of the police officer. An independent investigation is long overdue.”
This bill was originally introduced during the 2015-2016 session and again during the 2017-2018 session, both times as Senate Bill 400.