California may end use of grand juries in police shootings

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The California state Senate is advancing legislation to end the use of grand juries to investigate police shootings or cases of alleged excessive force by police.

The move comes after high-profile cases nationwide in which grand juries decided against bringing criminal charges against law enforcement officers who killed unarmed black men.

Sen. Holly Mitchell, a Democrat from Los Angeles, says the secret nature of grand jury deliberations often seems unfair, particularly when the outcome seems to conflict with witness accounts or videotaped evidence.

Senators approved her bill, SB227, with a 23-12 vote Thursday, sending it to the Assembly.

Grand juries are composed of citizens who weigh evidence presented by prosecutors.

Several Republicans say opponents should not react to current events by changing a process that has long been useful.

Correction: A previous version of a caption for the photo on this story identified Brendon Glenn by an incorrect first name. KPCC regrets the error.

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