A Witness To A Police Shooting

David Corn recounts his experience as one:

I went to the courthouse at the appointed hour and waited to be called into the grand jury room. My time in the drab conference room with the grand jury was brief. The jury was, as they say, a diverse group. But most of the jurors looked bored. A few seemed drowsy. The prosecutor asked me to identify myself and certify I had filed the statement. He asked me to describe where I had been and whether I had seen the full episode. But he never asked me to provide a complete account.

The key portion of the interview went something like this:

Prosecutor: You saw him start to run?

Me: I did.

Prosecutor: Did you see anything in his hand?

Me: No.

Prosecutor: Did you see him holding a knife?

Me: No. But I….

Prosecutor: Thank you.

I had wanted to say that I had seen him drop the heavy rock and bolt and that it was unlikely he had been able to grab and brandish a knife while sprinting. And I thought the grand jurors should know that he had not charged at any of the officers; he had been trying to dash through an opening between two of the cops in order to flee. And if they were interested in my opinion regarding the necessity of firing on him, I would have shared that, too.

But the prosecutor cut me off. He didn’t ask about about any of this. And not one of the jurors asked a question or said anything.

I left the room discouraged. This was not a search for the truth. It appeared to be a process designed to confirm an account that would protect the officer who had killed the man.