Professor Trachtenberg Testifies on Two Bills Concerning Police-Involved Shootings and Deaths

Professor Ben Trachtenberg testified at a public hearing before the Missouri House Committee on Crime Prevention and Public Safety on House Bill 41.

This bill specifies that “if charges are filed against a law enforcement officer based on an officer-involved shooting, the judge must appoint a special prosecutor.” Professor Trachtenberg testified at the request of bill sponsor Representative Gail McCann Beatty (D-Kansas City) and suggested that the requirement should apply when the circuit court becomes aware of a police shooting or officer-involved death, even if charges have not yet been filed.

Professor Trachtenberg later testified before the same committee on House Bill 232, which would require publicly-released, independent investigations of officer-involved deaths. He appeared at the request of bill sponsor Representative Shamed Dogan (R-Ballwin) and argued that independent investigations (much like special prosecutors) could boost public confidence in law enforcement while providing needed accountability. HB 232 is modeled on Wisconsin Act 348 (2013), signed into law by Governor Scott Walker.