Black Civic Leader Likens Grand Jury To Racial Apartheid

CLEVELAND (AP) - There was some harsh criticism of the grand jury system in Cleveland from a prominent black civic leader.

The Rev. Marvin McMickle (pictured, right) just finished a four-month term as a grand jury foreman. He likened the process to South Africa's former apartheid system of racial segregation.

McMickle is a minister, former head of the Cleveland branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and a onetime Democratic candidate for Congress.

He said that the grand jury is a parade of mostly white law officers seeking indictments of mostly black and Hispanic defendants.

The county's chief trial judge said that the grand jury's work reflects the rate of crime in Cleveland.

Prosecutor Bill Mason said that he makes no excuses for seeking indictments based on probable cause that a crime was committed.

(Copyright 2002 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)