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Grand jury convenes to investigate 15 deaths in law enforcement custody

The cases span two years
Posted at 6:40 PM, Mar 23, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-24 14:16:53-04

OMAHA, Ne. (KMTV) — On Monday the Douglas County District Court announced a grand jury was convening to investigate 15 deaths in the custody of law enforcement that span the past two years.

The court usually does not group together this many cases, but in a statement, the court said "it would be beneficial, efficient, and cost-effective to the citizens of Douglas County to consolidate the investigation and review of each incident by a single grand jury."

Community activists say sometimes saving money isn't the best option.

"To say that it’s cost-effective is not saying that it’s justice, we need to really look at sometimes when we’re trying to save a dollar it’s not doing justice for what actually needs to happen and that’s all we want, we want to make sure justice Is being served," said Jasmine Harris, Mayoral Candidate and community activist.

Harris is calling for more transparency and equity in this process. She says these juries usually affect communities of color more. She says representation among the jury is important especially because Black and brown people typically make up more of the cases because of the way the system disproportionately impacts them.

One of the cases before the grand jury is that of Kenneth Jones, who was fatally shot during a routine traffic stop in November. Harris says Jones' case deserves its own preceding.

"We want to make sure that there is no bias, that it is equitably treated like it needs to be because there are still a lot of people pushing for video footage and actually what happened, so it needs to be treated in special circumstances," Harris said.

Douglas County Attorney Don Kleine will present evidence to the jury for each of the 15 cases.

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