How New Jersey Conducts Independent Investigations into Police Use-of-Force and Death-in-Custody Incidents
There are few investigations more important—or more challenging—than those involving the use of force by law enforcement officers against civilians. In December 2019, Attorney General Grewal issued AG Directive 2019-4, known as the Independent Prosecutor Directive, to outline clear procedures governing such investigations and to ensure that they are done fully, fairly, and independently of any potential bias.
Broadly speaking, the Directive outlines a ten-step process for conducting independent investigations of use-of-force and death-in-custody incidents in compliance with State law. Although the precise timing will vary depending on the case, the first three steps generally occur simultaneously in the immediate aftermath of the incident, while the remaining steps unfold over the course of the investigation.