The Brown and Garner cases lead me to ask this question: Suppose I am a prosecutor and I conclude that a police officer is guilty of a crime, but I also conclude that no jury will convict given the evidence. What should I do? The most straightforward thought is that I should not bring a charge. It would be irresponsible to charge someone when you feel sure that you cannot win a conviction (I’m equally sure that prosecutors do this all the time and hope to get a plea, but leave that aside).
On the other hand, can public opinion on these issues be changed without some trials of police officers? In other words, could a prosecutor say something in private like, “I know that a jury probably will not convict, but we need to bring a charge to express the view of a minority of the community that this sort of conduct is intolerable.” Is that an appropriate action? Would that just be grandstanding?