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Philly DA institutes new policy for investigating police-involved shootings

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Philadelphia Assistant District Attorney Tariq El Shabazz says district attorneys will come to shooting sites in some cases before the crime-scene technicians for a parallel investigation. (Tom MacDonald/WHYY)

Philadelphia Assistant District Attorney Tariq El Shabazz says district attorneys will come to shooting sites in some cases before the crime-scene technicians for a parallel investigation. (Tom MacDonald/WHYY)

Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams has come out with a new set of guidelines to handle police-involved shootings.

The new protocol for cases in which an officer discharges a firearm will result in quicker and more transparent investigations, Williams said.

“These investigations are going to be independent, they are going to be parallel, they will be transparent,” he said. “And that transparency will be part of that conclusion. If anyone wishes to come and review why we chose not to prosecute, they will be invited to our office to review that file.”

The goal of the new guidelines is to make sure the public knows an incident is completely reviewed, according to Assistant District Attorney Tariq El-Shabazz, deputy of the investigations division.

“To give an idea to the family, to give an idea to those concerned, what was the investigation that transpired,” he said. “How was it that we reached that particular decision, and how are those particular facts jived with the law.”

El-Shabazz said district attorneys will come to shooting sites, in some cases, before the crime-scene technicians for the parallel investigation.

The mandate includes preparing a report within 60 days of the close of the investigation when no charges are filed.

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