In a story in the Minneapolis Star Tribune related to the prosecution of the officer in the controversial St. Anthony, MN fatal shooting, Sam Walker commented that prosecutions of police officers are very difficult to obtain, and convictions are even more difficult. Prosecutors work closely with local police and are reluctant to bring criminal charges, he commented. Additionally, judges and juries have deep cultural biases in favor of the police, he explained.
More progress will be made in reducing fatal police shootings through improved policies and training on police tactics that through prosecution, Walker explained. Officer de-escalation of encounters with citizens will lead to fewer uses of force, including those that escalate into the use of deadly force. Procedural justice, where officers treat people with respect and answer their questions, will reduce conflict-filled encounters and, as a consequence reduce officer uses of force. The odds of increasing the number of prosecutions and convictions, by contrast, are very slim at best.
Read the Star-Tribune story: mncrimprosec