Owensby Case Goes to Grand Jury

Loved ones of Roger Owensby hope to take one more step toward closure.

Earlier this month, the 29-year old Roselawn man died while in police custody. This week, a grand jury will hear evidence from the controversial night in question to decide whether criminal charges should be filed against the five officers involved. Defense atto

rnies will square off against a team led by Mike Allen, not the special prosecutor city council requested.

"They respond I'm afraid to the group that squawks the loudest and threatens the hardest," said Allen. "I cannot conduct my office and I cannot conduct this investigation in that manner."

After repeated protests, particularly by the Black United Front and Special Forces, many council members questioned whether Allen, a former judge and police officer, could be objective when dealing with potential police miscounduct.

"I'm going to do the right thing, the buck stops with me and that's all there is to it," said Allen.

A coroner's report indicates Owensby suffocated from either a choke-hold or a "pile-up". The five officers connected to his death continue to invoke their fifth amendment rights to remain silent. Allen admits that without their testimony, the public may never know exactly what happened.

"Obviously it would help if the officers would feel compelled to talk," said. "We hope that one or more of them will feel compelled to come forward and tell the truth. But to this point they haven't and we've got to go on what we have."