Most of New York's Democratic state senators are advocating legislation to establish a special state prosecutor to investigate deaths caused by police.
The 17 current and newly elected senators say they back the proposed Office of Special Investigation within the state Attorney General's Office.
It would automatically review any offense by a police officer resulting in the death of an unarmed individual and consider reviewing cases when the victim is allegedly armed.
Sen. Andrea Stewart-Cousins, who leads Democrats in the Republican-controlled chamber, says Eric Garner's death by police on Staten Island, videotaped and widely watched, and the subsequent grand jury decision to indict no officers were "disturbing."
She says the criminal justice system needs to be reformed to ensure civilians are protected and to restore public trust in law enforcement.