In recent months, I have been asked regarding my opinions on issues confronting our nation regarding our criminal justice system. I’d like to share some of these discussions with all of you, and give you the chance to weigh in. My theme remains the same: diversity is a necessity. There must be diversity among the actors in the criminal justice system in order for there to be balance within our system. Perception is reality; critical messages can be lost if there is a perception that the system is unfair.
Political reporter Tony Pugh asked me what my thoughts were regarding the use of independent prosecutors to investigate and pursue cases involving police shootings.
“The true answer is to have diversity among the attorneys in prosecutors’ offices, and for prosecutors’ offices to continue working on their relationship with the communities they serve, so that there is trust and transparency in the justice process,” said Melba Pearson, the president of the National Black Prosecutors Association.
While an independent prosecutor may be a useful tool in some circumstances, “it isn’t necessarily the answer for all police shooting cases,” she said.
Some state prosecutors already have units or individual prosecutors dedicated to public officials, including police officers, who’ve allegedly committed crimes.
“This may be a good option to expand upon,” Pearson said.