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Turner Introduces Legislation Requiring Special Prosecutors in Police Related Felonies


Phone: 773-277-4700
February 19, 2015

Turner Introduces Legislation Requiring Special Prosecutors in Police Related Felonies

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – Legislation filed recently by state Rep. Arthur Turner, D-Chicago, would require that local state’s attorneys appoint a special prosecutor in cases when a law enforcement officer is alleged to have committed a felony.

“Recent events in Ferguson and New York City make clear that additional measures need to be put in place when police officers face felony charges,” Turner said. “It is a travesty that in two separate instances, each resulting in the death of a young man, the police officers involved were not held accountable.”

House Bill 291 calls for the appointment of special prosecutors when any felony charge is brought against a law enforcement officer as a result of actions taken while the officer is on-duty or off-duty, but participating in activities that fall within the scope of their official responsibilities. Currently, the appointment of a special prosecutor is typical when a specific case poses a conflict of interest for a state’s attorney. The proposed change in state law would no longer have the decision to name a special prosecutor rest with local officials, but would require that one be selected under guidelines established by the Illinois Supreme Court.

“A close working relationship between state’s attorneys and law enforcement officials helps reduce crime in communities across the state,” Turner added. “However, in high profile cases, in which a law enforcement official is alleged to have committed a felony, that relationship presents a conflict of interest. Through the appointment of an independent prosecutor, a victim’s family, friends and neighbors can be assured that police officers will receive no special treatment before the law.”

For more information, please contact Rep. Turner’s full-time constituent service office at 773-277-4700.