A grand jury (since 1166) is made up of 12 to 23 people. It is used by public prosecutors, sometimes judges, to look into possible wrongdoing, generally a serious crime like murder, rape or fraud.
They do not determine guilt, but whether there should be a trial.
Grand juries can issue an indictment. It lists which people are to be brought to trial charged with what crimes.
Judges can also determine whether there should be a trial by holding apreliminary hearing with the lawyers from both sides.
Public prosecutors (county prosecutors, district attorneys, state attorneys, etc) can also bring charges on their own if there is enough evidence – even when the grand jury returns no indictment.
Police brutality: Public prosecutors are in bed with the police: they work with them and depend on them. That creates a conflict of interest when the police commit a crime. Throwing it to a grand jury gives an appearance of fairness, but because grand juries rarely disagree with prosecutors, it becomes a way to avoid bringing charges. That is how the police officers who killed Michael Brown, Eric Garner and John Crawford avoided arrest, trial and prison.
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