This Crime Was Committed 81 Times, But Only 1 Went To Trial. Here's What The Suspects Had In Common.
They were cops.
When you think of crime and punishment, you might think of two things:
"Law and Order"
and "12 Angry Men "
But there's an important step between the two that we're missing here: grand juries.
Normally, the police will work with the local prosecutor (or district attorney) to make sure the appropriate charges are brought against a suspect.
Those charges, along with the evidence, are brought to a grand jury, which weighs the evidence and decides whether it is sufficient to warrant a full trial (an indictment). But grand jury proceedings are totally different from a trial.
What makes a grand jury different?
So it's no surprise that most grand juries choose to indict. The prosecutor wants the grand jury to indict, so the prosecutor provides a narrative that seems ... indict-y.
Then why don't cops get indicted and sent to trial?
The Houston Chronicle examined the issue and found that officers are almost never indicted after killing unarmed civilians .
When interviewed, Ray Hunt, president of the Houston Police Officers' Union, told the Chronicle that the discrepancy is because jurors tend to empathize with the police:
Legal experts say it's all about the prosecutor.
Collette Flanagan, founder of the organization Mothers Against Police Brutality, told
U.S. News and World Report