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New DeKalb grand jury reviews officer-involved shootings | News

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New DeKalb grand jury reviews officer-involved shootings
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DECATUR, Ga. -- DeKalb County's newly-impaneled civil grand jury is meeting again Thursday morning to review cases of officer-involved shootings.

The civil grand jury, which was created in May, is a group of 23 civilians who first receive use-of-force training to gain a proper understanding of the law and the challenges officers face.

After that, the grand jury will look at all the evidence in the case and present their opinions to the DA's office. While not binding, the grand jury's opinion will be publicly available.

"It's not normal. It's not something most DAs' offices do," said District Attorney Robert James.

"That recommendation is a public recommendation, it's not something that's private that I can squirrel away in a file."

On Wednesday, James took several faith leaders through the same use-of-force training in hopes of shining a light on the process.

"I think every town in America, at this point in our nation's history, is only one or two officer involved shootings away from some level of civil disobedience or riots or insurrection," James said.

One of the high profile cases the grand jury will hear is the fatal shooting of Anthony Hill.

Hill, an Air Force veteran diagnosed with bipolar disorder, was walking around his apartment complex naked in March when a DeKalb County Police Officer responded to a 911 call for help.

The officer claims Hill lunged at him in a threatening manner. He opened fire and killed Hill.

After the civilian grand jury makes its recommendation, James could then take the case to a criminal grand jury.

"We hope that it shines a light on the process, that it brings about transparency," James said, "With transparency we hope there's greater trust and cooperation between us and the public."

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