Every officer-involved-shootings (OIS) requires a review by the appropriate agency. There are many functions of this review, to include the primary function of determining whether the shooting was justified and within the bounds of the relevant department’s policy for use of deadly force. It is my judgment that a shooting review is less controversial when transparency and lack of bias endow that review. It is my judgment that it is a benefit to all parties to employ a process that allows for greater transparency, fairness, and, most importantly, an arrival at the truth for all of those involved.
In consultation with members of my office, as well as other United States Attorneys and District Attorneys, who have faced similar issues, the following procedure is proposed as one way of conducting a comprehensive and thorough method of investigating the circumstances of an OIS. This procedure includes a standing body whose membership reflects the Northern District of Alabama and contains the experience necessary to fairly and consistently arrive at recommendations as they relate to a particular OIS. The following procedure may be employed whenever there is an OIS, regardless of whether the outcome is fatal or non-fatal, and will create instant transparency in a crisis or when a particular law enforcement agency is incapable of conducting an OIS. While it may not be necessary in the vast majority of OISs, it provides a framework and option that a District Attorney or law enforcement agency should consider. As always, my office is here to provide help and assistance with any part of this process.