June 10, 2020
Assembly Passes Legislation Creating Office of Special Investigation, Ensuring Independent Investigation of Deaths in Law Enforcement Custody
Speaker Carl Heastie and Assemblymember N. Nick Perry today announced that the Assembly passed legislation to create the Office of Special Investigation that would investigate and, when warranted, prosecute when a person dies in law enforcement custody or after an encounter with a police officer or certain peace officers (A.1601-C, Perry).
The Assembly Majority is committed to real, substantial reform of our criminal justice system, Speaker Heastie said. The Office of Special Investigation will eliminate a potential conflict of interest, and help assure even scales of justice in our state.
New Yorkers deserve a judicial system that is impartial and fair, said Assemblymember Perry. Creating the Office of Special Investigation will address conflicts of interest and foster public confidence that when civilians die as a result of an interaction with law enforcement, justice will be served.
The legislation would establish an Office of Special Investigation within the Offices of the New York State Attorney General that would investigate and, if warranted, prosecute incidents of a person dying in law enforcement custody or after an encounter with a police officer or certain peace officer. District attorneys and officers in local police departments work closely together in important and sensitive matters. When an individual dies after an encounter with police or in law enforcement custody, it would promote public confidence to have the circumstances of the death investigated and reviewed by an independent prosecuting agency.