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Cooper establishes NC Task Force for Racial Equity in Criminal Justice

Published: Jun. 9, 2020 at 6:46 PM EDT
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RALIEGH, N.C. (WECT) - North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper has announced the creation of the North Carolina Task Force for Racial Equity in Criminal Justice to “develop and help implement strategies & policies to help eliminate systemic racism in our criminal justice system.”

The task force will be led by Associate Justice of the North Carolina Supreme Court Anita Earls and N.C. Attorney General Josh Stein.

“They will convene a wide range of stakeholders including community policing advocates, state and local law enforcement agencies, people who have gone through and been affected by the justice system, judicial branch representatives, people from marginalized populations and more,” Cooper said. "Their work will examine law enforcement and criminal justice practices, make concrete recommendations for how to make real improvements, and then submit a report to me by Dec. 1.

“Part of the job of the Task Force will be tailoring research and ideas to North Carolina and developing a strategy on how to get their proposals implemented. The task force is just the beginning, and I’m committed to making sure we see real progress. Taking on issues of race and discrimination is difficult and often uncomfortable. That’s why we need everyone – local governments, police departments, sheriffs, judges, prosecutors, civil rights leaders, legislators & community members— to weigh in and be committed to real change.”

Cooper also said that N.C. Department of Public Safety Secretary Erik Hooks has directed state law agencies under his department ensure thay have a clear duty-to-intervene policy.

“That means if they see a fellow officer doing wrong, they must step in,” Cooper said. "He has also directed those agencies to review their existing policies. Those include arrest procedures, what kind of interactions require use of force, and more importantly, which don’t. How to prioritize de-escalation, so they calm a situation rather than accelerate it. This review along with recommendations of the Task Force can determine changes that need to be made to ensure that our state law enforcement agencies are providing equitable, high-quality service while prioritizing the safety of all North Carolinians.

“It’s critical that our state law enforcement be leaders in repairing this breach. They have a tough job and I’m grateful for so many of them who are doing their best to protect and serve with fairness. Many are now acknowledging that systemic and cultural changes must be made.”

Cooper also shared the following national data:

  • Black adults are 5.9 times as likely to be incarcerated than white adults;
  • Hispanic adults are 3.1 times as likely to be incarcerated than white adults;
  • Black drivers are approximately twice as likely as white drivers to be pulled over by law enforcement for a traffic stop;
  • Black defendants are more likely to be jailed before trial than white defendants;
  • The murders of white people are more likely to be solved than the murders of black people;
  • When black men and white men are convicted of the same crime, black men receive a prison sentence that is 20 percent longer;
  • Black women are imprisoned at twice the rate as white women;
  • Black men are 2.5 times more likely to be killed by law enforcement than are white men, and black women are 1.4 times more likely to be killed by law enforcement than are white women.

The full order can be read here.

LIVE: Gov. Cooper is expected to announce executive action on criminal justice and racial equity.

Posted by WECT News on Tuesday, June 9, 2020

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