A number of you have asked how it is possible that a police officer shoot an unarmed person and is not just not punished for it, but not even investigated. Such was the case of Darren Wilson, a police office in Ferguson, Missouri, who shot and killed an unarmed 18-year-old.

I’ll go to say in general that I agree that police has a greater latitude on the use of force than an average person. Clearly, the people that have a sworn duty to protect others deserve the deference of respect from those they protect – which includes me.

Deference and respect, though, don’t mean a free pass. So why wasn’t there a court case against Darren Wilson? Wouldn’t that be necessary not only to establish the truth, but also to clear the conscience and future of the man that is now going to be free to move but forever confined by his history?

Technically, the reason is that the jurisdiction in which the tragedy occurred uses Grand Juries to determine whether someone should be tried. The local prosecutor, the District Attorney, convenes a Grand Jury to determine whether there is enough evidence to prosecute. The Grand Jury either confirms there is or denies the prosecutor’s request. In practice, though, the Grand Jury does what the prosecutor wants.

(more…)