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JCPAO Press Releases

Posted on: June 1, 2020

Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker calls for needed changes in justice system

For Immediate Release

June 1, 2020

What follows is a statement from Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker:

A group of prosecutors and staff from my office joined the lawful protests on Sunday afternoon at Mill Creek Park near the Plaza as a way to honor the life of George Floyd and to show our support for needed change in America’s criminal justice system. This is change that I and dozens of other of the nation’s top prosecutors first sought after the Ferguson protests in 2014.

In 2017, the Association of Prosecuting Attorneys, an organization for many of the nation’s urban prosecutors, promoted justice reform ideas, many focused on improving transparency and accountability. Much of that proposed template built on or followed the President’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing. But unfortunately those reforms largely were not enacted.

The time for more study has passed. We already have a path forward. We only need to move forward. We must begin to methodically enact and build on these reforms.

Here are some key first steps:

  • Prosecutors must limit the use of grand juries in officer-involved cases because by law they are shrouded in secrecy.
  • Procedural justice and diversity training must be required of prosecutors and others in the criminal justice system.
  • Outside, independent, neutral investigations must be established for all police officer-involved incidents. Police cannot investigate their own.
  • Citizens should give input into union contract provisions that offer additional advantages to officers being investigated.
  • Community policing should be established and embraced to heal and restore community trust.
  • Recruit minority officers and officers who live in the community.

We will announce other new reforms efforts in our office in coming days. We are happy to discuss other reform efforts undertaken already by our office.

Here is a statement issued today by the Association of Prosecuting Attorneys on the killing of George Floyd.

For more information, contact:

Michael Mansur

Director of Communication

Jackson County Prosecutor’s Office

Jean Peters Baker, Prosecutor

Work   : (816) 881-3812

Mobile: (816) 674-3954


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