State Watch

Panel recommends that PA state officers who kill, injure others should face independent probe

The State Law Enforcement Citizen Advisory Commission in Pennsylvania approved a recommendation Friday that says state troopers who kill or injure someone should face an independent probe. 

The panel says an independent prosecutor should investigate the state officers instead of the district attorney, who works closely with police, NBC News reported in partnership with Spotlight PA

The recommendation is meant to increase Pennsylvania residents’ trust in police, according to the panel. 

The panel said the recommendation stems from a 2016 shooting in which the state officers talked to the district attorney before shooting a person in a standoff. 

After the shooting, the same district attorney reviewed the case and cleared the officers of wrongdoing.

One commissioner said “there was an inherent suspicion … or conflict of interest that could arise” from the 2016 case, according to the outlets. 

It also follows the death of 19-year-old Christian Hall, who police shot and killed in 2020. Hall had an airsoft gun in his hand which police mistook for an actual gun.

In a video given by the district attorney’s office, the last few moments before Hall’s death were redacted. In a video obtained by NBC News and Spotlight PA, it showed Hall’s hands were in the air when he was shot. 

The district attorney has cleared the officers in the shooting while the parents are asking for an independent investigation. 

The commission was created by Gov. Tom Wolf (D) in 2020, but it does not have the power to require its recommendation. It is unclear if the state police will heed the recommendation.

Tags Tom Wolf

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