The New York State Troopers PBA is deeply troubled by comments made by New York Attorney General Letitia James during a press conference yesterday in the aftermath of a grand jury’s decision not to indict any police officers in connection with the death of Daniel Prude in Rochester.
The NYSTPBA takes exception to the Attorney General’s use of the Daniel Prude report as a bully pulpit to legislate through her position as the top law enforcement official in the state. In her remarks, Attorney General James presented worrisome theories about the use of deadly physical force by law enforcement as a whole as well as unsettling objectives to undermine the core of the grand jury system.
Attorney General James’ classification that an officer’s use of deadly physical force is subjective and simple belittles the painstaking efforts that Troopers take to defuse a situation.
“In a world of split-second decisions, many times an individual, through his or her actions, removes all other possibilities of de-escalation which results in the law enforcement officer having to use deadly physical force in order to protect the public and first responders,” said NYSTPBA President Thomas H. Mungeer.
The Attorney General stated that her office presented the strongest case possible to secure an indictment; however, the citizens of Monroe County who served on that grand jury chose not to indict the police officers based on the facts presented to them. Despite these facts, when faced with the grand jury’s decision the Attorney General made disconcerting verbal recommendations during a press conference that grand jury secrecy rules should be relaxed.
“Why does the Attorney General feel that she has to move the goal post when faced – in her opinion – with an adverse decision?” Mungeer said. “The sanctity and secrecy of the grand jury process is embedded in our laws and we hope that knee-jerk reactions won’t crack the foundation upon which our criminal justice system is based.”