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The Role of the State Attorney General-Harvard Law School-Spring. 2022

Police Misconduct - March 28, 2022

Allegations of police misconduct are referred to attorneys general most often because of a perceived conflict because the district attorneys work with closely local police officers who always witnesses on other pending cases. Attorneys general also have a broader perspective and are therefore able to develop develop expertise in handling police cases and create statewide uniform standards. Further, from the perspective of public confidence, it is often best to have the prosecutor be from outside any local district.

The issue of who will investigate allegations of police misconduct is not new. Indeed many attorneys general have handled these cases for many years, but for other states it is new. While there are disagreements on this policy, the national trend is to expand the role of attorneys general in dealing with allegations over the use of excessive force by police officers.