Male: Tomorrow, a Grand Jury could begin hearing evidence about whether to charge the officer who killed Brown. NBC 10 Legal Analyst, Enrique Latoison, is joining us now live from our Digital Operations Center. Enrique, thanks for being here. With all the peaceful protests we’ve been seeing, and the small group that’s causing the riots and the looting, tell us how that might impact the investigation into the shooting by Officer Darren Wilson.
Enrique Latoison: Well, the issue is that you don’t want to come off as there is impropriety, that the people — that the small group of people that are causing all this attention, you don’t want to seem as though the investigation is being rushed to appease those people or to quiet down those that are acting unruly. The investigation has to stand up in a court of law eventually, whether or not this officer is charged or not. You don’t want someone charged just to quiet down rioters and, then, that doesn’t stand up in a court of law. And you don’t want someone not charged, just purposely, just to stand up against these individuals. So, there can’t be no appearance of impropriety or outside forces. This needs to be done carefully and needs to be done correctly.
Female: We know police released a videotape a couple of days ago reportedly showing Michael Brown strong arm robbing a store. That was released amidst a lot of controversy, many saying that didn’t have any bearing on that case. Can that be used in this case at all?
Enrique Latoison: If this officer is charged, that’s probably going to be a huge evidentiary rule that a judge down the line would have to decide. Of course, the defense, if the officer is charged, would say, “Listen. This is how he acts. He’s aggressive. He comes at people. This is what he did to the officer. The officer was in fear of his life. This is what he does. This is what he did five minutes before that.” Of course, the flipside of it is the prosecution, if the officer is charged, is going to say, “Listen. This has nothing to do with anything. It was a shop owner. He wasn’t convicted of anything. This should not be used to smear Mike Brown or his reputation and should not be used to say just because this happened in a store, therefore, this is what happened when he encountered the officer.” So, that would be a ruling that would have to be decided down the road.
Male: And talk to us about who is involved in deciding whether Officer Wilson is charged in this case.
Enrique Latoison: Right now, it’s a Grand Jury. And in Missouri, there’s 12 Grand Juries — 12 Grand Jurors. Excuse me. They’re independent and they make a decision on whether or not there’s probable cause to believe whether or not a crime has been committed and whether or not the officer should be indicted. Nine of them have to agree in this particular case. I think that’s the most fair and impartial way for this case to be decided, whether or not he should be charged or not charged.
Male: Enrique Latoison, NBC 10 Legal Analyst, we thank you for your perspective as always.
Enrique Latoison: Thank you.