California became the first state in the entire U.S. to prohibit the use of Grand Juries. These secret legal bodies no longer can be used when deciding if police officers should be indicted in cases of deadly force or not. With the many recent cases of police brutality, being a complete abuse of their authority, people firmly marched against Grand Juries as they were helping these cases stay out of the justice they truly deserved.
“Stop killing our boys” states a sign in a protest against a grand jury’s decision not to indict Officer Darren Wilson for the shooting death of an unarmed teenager, Michael Brown. That is but a single case of police brutality that, thanks to a grand jury, that will never see justice.
It is believed that grand juries are a process that incite the refusal to indict and created an atmosphere of great suspicion that completely compromises the justice system. People are getting angrier about it, making everything turn into a delicate situation. Most of last year’s protests were motivated by this issue.
The grand juries were also heavily criticized because of their how secretive they are. This is, at first, to protect witnesses, who supposedly will not come forward if the documents were subject to open record. Regardless of that, those who oppose the grand jury firmly state that the secrecy surrounding them only serves as a protection to the police and does absolutely nothing for justice.
Also, grand juries do not necessarily need to reveal the reason why a police officer was not indicted. Most people believe that sort of crucial information has to be revealed to everyone, in order to know if justice was properly served or not. We are talking about the lives of young people, who die due to police brutality in a very vicious and satantic way. It is no surprise that so many people rise against grand juries.
With the changes of this law, California can now leave the decision up to the prosecutor. Police brutality will now be something easier to judge with a lot more of transparency and accountability.
A terrifying number was released by Bowling Green State University, which stated that in seven years, only less than 50 police officers who abused their authority and inflicted excessive force, killing the innocent, were charged with murder for an on-duty action. And, during the same period, the FBI classified over 2,700 police brutality killings as homicides.
Take a minute to internalize that last bit of information. This issue is severe and very serious. California made the first step towards erasing the grand juries from the system. People need to feel safe around the police, not feel that their children could get killed at any moment, especially Black children, who seem to be the target of police brutality.
With a grand jury, it is very rare that an officer gets charged with homicide because he is protected by secret White Supremacist groups that have infiltrated the court system and many police departments across the country. So, it is great news for California. And we can only hope that other states take this example and start applying the same law in every region.