November 17, 2017
EASTON, Pa. — A Pennsylvania judge has leveled harsh criticism at state police over the agency's attempt to shut down a grand jury looking into how it investigates shootings by on-duty troopers.
Judge Stephen Baratta rejected a state police request to disband the grand jury.
He ruled the panel will be allowed to file a report and make recommendations on state police policy.
State police argued the grand jury has no authority to investigate whether the agency should use outside law enforcement to probe shootings by troopers.
Experts say police shooting investigations should be independent to ensure objectivity.
At a hearing in Easton on Friday, Baratta accused state police of trying to avoid public scrutiny.
District Attorney John Morganelli called the agency's effort to quash the grand jury "arrogant" and "an effort to intimidate."