Proposed bill would give attorney general power to investigate officer-involved deaths

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OKLAHOMA CITY – A controversial policy is coming under fire.

Currently, deaths caused by law-enforcement officers are often investigated by their own departments.

However, a bill that was proposed in the Oklahoma House of Representatives would give that investigative power to another office.

House Bill 1319 would give the attorney general the discretion to open an investigation into any death in Oklahoma caused by an officer.

“This bill is a work in progress, but I hope that as the session moves along we can reach an agreement that will clearly articulate the jurisdiction of the Attorney General to intervene in these incidents that seem to be more and more commonplace,” said Rep. Mike Shelton. “The public deserves to know that an impartial, thorough investigation is going to be conducted when a law enforcement officer causes the death of a civilian. Not only does this safeguard the public, but it also reinforces the public trust in those empowered to serve and protect us.”

Shelton says he filed the measure following the death of Luis Rodriguez.

“It is human nature to protect your own, and we have seen too often across this nation district attorneys who choose not to proceed with an investigation and potentially criminal charges when police officers are involved. This bill would take that decision out of their hands,” Shelton said.

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