NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — New York’s governor has issued an executive order that puts the office of the state attorney general in charge of investigating killings by police.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed the order Wednesday as relatives of New Yorkers slain by law enforcement looked on. They included Gwen Carr, whose son Eric Garner died last year in police custody.

The action by the Democratic governor means a special prosecutor appointed by Attorney General Eric Schneiderman will review instances when police kill an unarmed civilian or when there’s a question about whether the slain civilian was armed.

It comes after officers weren’t criminally charged last year in deadly encounters with unarmed men in New York and elsewhere. Critics say local prosecutors are too close to police to properly pursue such cases.

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