Police misconduct and grand juries: a separate prosecution and grand jury system is necessary
The Christian Science Monitor has a story, "In wake of Eric Garner case, should grand jury system be reformed?," positing that the grand jury process is flawed because of the recent incidents in Ferguson, Missouri and New York City, where Michael Brown and Eric Garner were killed by police officers.
I think the article gets it wrong somewhat when it says that juries always return indictments, except in instances of alleged police misconduct. From the article:
Two grand juries – one in New York, where Mr. Garner was choked to death, and in Missouri, where Mr. Brown was shot – failed to return criminal indictments against police officers a little more than a week apart.The real point is that juries do just about 100% of the time what the prosecution suggests should be done--return indictments against alleged criminals and not return indictments against police officers.
Rooted in history as a skeptical check on the crown, the American grand jury – a secret panel of 12 citizens – has become largely a prosecutor’s rubber stamp. Grand juries almost always return an indictment, except in one specific instance: when it comes to cases involving a police officer.
The solution is to have an independent prosecution and grand jury system for police misconduct cases, featuring prosecutors who are not normally involved in trying those crimes where police officers are part of the case for the prosecution.
Of course that will create a different problem, a special police misconduct prosecution unit will be considered pariahs by both police officers,comparable to how police officers cast opprobrium on internal affairs units--which investigate police officers for misconduct, as well as by other prosecutors, who normally work with the police, and "not against them."