Judge A. Graham Shirley of Wake County has ordered certain video and audio recordings from the Wake County Sheriff department, Raleigh police department, and state troopers to be released. They are now available to be viewed by the public.
They are from the body and dashboard cameras of officers who responded to calls that a man was standing in the middle of North Raleigh Boulevard on April 3. These officers have been accused of beating Kyron Dwain Hinton, 29, with flashlights and a police dog. Hinton said that he had a broken eye socket and nose, 21 bite marks and cuts on his head after the incident.
Officer Cameron Broadwell of Wake County and NC Highway Patrol Troopers Michael Blake and Tabithia Davis have been indicted by a grand jury. The video and audio recordings are highly disturbing. Hinton has said that although he was upset at the time, he made no threats. Some of the officers’ attorneys have requested that the 9/11 calls and radio traffic between law enforcement also be made public. The Carolina Justice Policy Center continues to advocate for Mr. Hinton, and hopes that the incident will serve as a catalyst for greater police accountability. Learn more here.
The Asheville City Council has voted to make three changes to how police can search drivers or pedestrians. The most significant requires that police receive written permission before they search someone, unless they have “probable cause” to believe a crime has been committed. Additionally, the grounds for valid searches were restricted, and regulatory stops like traffic stops were de-emphasized.
While advocates hope that these changes will help curb stops on innocent drivers, law enforcement advocates caution that it could limit effectiveness of police in the midst of a drug epidemic. Advocates in favor of the changes also have pointed to data that clearly shows a racial disparity in traffic stops in Asheville. The changes come in the wake of a Black pedestrian being beaten by a police officer in Asheville, an event that has caused friction locally and garnered national attention. Learn more here.
Shaunte Southern is a Sergeant in Gaston County, North Carolina. He has served primarily with patrol and the SWAT team. In a recent essay he wrote for The Undefeated, he opens up about racism in law enforcement. He writes, “[t]o be honest with you, I think that African-American males are treated differently by law enforcement, and that’s my honest opinion. I think this fear of black men is real. As a black officer, sometimes you feel like people expect or want you to pick a side- when in fact you can be both pro-black or pro-police.” He traces this fear of Black men back to historical depictions of Black men as dangerous. Despite this sobering belief about our past and present, Southern expresses hopefulness about the future of relationships between law enforcement and the public. Though he believes that greater transparency has made it easier for police to hold each other accountable, he notes that more of this accountability is needed. He hopes that police officers will find more opportunities to interact with community members outside of their traditional roles, and that the public will be willing to learn more about the challenges officers face. Read the full essay here.
As the topic of police brutality becomes more widely discussed, police departments are taking proactive steps to reduce excessive use of force. In a recent article by the Washington Post, authors examine what it takes to reduce deadly shootings. Some measures being adopted by police departments include the adoption of clear strong policies, adequate ongoing training that provides opportunities to practice in scenario-based exercises, and changing the culture of departments to reward successful de-escalation. The article describes various police departments that have been successful in reducing the use of force using these strategies. To learn more, click here.
The North Carolina Commission on Racial and Ethnic Disparities (NCCRED), the Wake Forest Journal of Law & Policy, and the Wake Forest School of Law Criminal Justice Program, present “The New Law and Order: Working Towards Equitable and Community-Centered Policing in North Carolina” on Friday, Nov. 3, 2017, from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., in the Worrell Professional Center, Room 1312. The event is free and open to the public. Four hours of Continuing Legal Education (CLE) credit from the North Carolina Bar Association has been approved.
On September 5, 2017, Donald Trump revoked the program DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals). DACA was originally established under the Obama administration and allowed individuals who entered the United States as minors to receive a renewable two-year period of deferred action from deportation. The revocation puts thousands of undocumented students at risk for deportation. For those currently in the program, their permits will start to expire in March 2018 – all Dreamers (those protected by DACA) will lose status by March 2020.
In response, the Advancement Project and Puente Movement Arizona have teamed up to fight the revocation. Puente recently launched a campaign – #CopsOuttaCampus – to remove school resource officers from Phoenix Union High School. Arizona state law requires officers to ask about a student’s immigration status once they’re arrested, so the only way to protect undocumented students is to get cops off of school campus. The Advancement Project works to support the campaign as well as the general effort to dismantle the school-to-prison and school-to-deportation pipeline.
To learn more, check out #CopsOuttaCampus on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.