The uprising last year does seem to have had some effect in the sense that at least some cases of police and/or prosecutorial misconduct are being taken more seriously, particularly in racially charged cases, and some localities have moved to reign in the worst excesses of the police state model that was developed during the wars on drugs, crime, etc during the period between the 1980s and 2000s. Potential dangers include an over-emphasis on outright murders committed by cops, which may obscure the much more pervasive problem of police misconduct generally; an over-emphasis on race, which obscure police and prosecutorial misconduct directed toward individuals and groups across cultural and ethnic boundaries; and a pullback on policing in a way that generates an increase in crime, which could then fuel renewed calls for “law and order.”
By Jackie Johnson, Reason
Former District Attorney Jackie Johnson may face accountability for her official actions in the Ahmaud Arbery investigation.
A grand jury on Thursday indicted a former prosecutor for allegedly using her power to protect the men accused of murdering Ahmaud Arbery, a Georgia man who was chased through a neighborhood before being shot and killed in February of last year.
Jackie Johnson, who for a decade served as the district attorney in the Brunswick Judicial Circuit, is charged with violating her oath of office, which is a felony, and hindering a law enforcement officer, which is a misdemeanor.
While it’s too early to predict an outcome, the mere fact that a former prosecutor is facing accountability for potential misconduct is remarkable.
Arbery’s death drew a swell of national attention last year after Travis McMichael and his father Greg McMichael pursued Arbery in their truck while he was out on a run, with the former ultimately gunning him down at close range. Neighbor William “Roddie” Bryan joined the hunt in his own car and allegedly blocked Arbery from escaping. The three men insist they suspected Arbery had committed burglary and therefore they had the right to perform a citizen’s arrest, while the state contends no such evidence exists.