By Anna Phillips | July 25, 2020 at 4:06 PM EDT – Updated July 25 at 4:13 PM
WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) – Law enforcement agencies across the state are being asked to enact new policies surrounding criminal justice reform recommendations.
Governor Roy Cooper’s task force for racial equity in criminal justice is recommending all agencies enact three new policies:
- The Task Force recommends that all North Carolina law enforcement agencies enact a policy articulating a duty to intervene and report in any case where a law enforcement officer may be a witness to what they know to be an excessive use of force or other abuse of a suspect or arrestee.
- The Task Force recommends that all North Carolina law enforcement agencies enact a Use of Force policy that, at a minimum, prohibits neck holds. Law enforcement agencies should consider using the sample policy language below.
- Sample Policy Language “NECK HOLDS PROHIBITED. Law enforcement officers shall not use chokeholds, strangleholds, Lateral Vascular Neck Restraints, Carotid Restraints, chest compressions, or any other tactics that restrict oxygen or blood flow to the head or neck unless necessary to protect the life of the officer.”
- The Task Force recommends that the North Carolina Supreme Court enact a General Rule of Practice, which would require an assessment of a defendant’s ability to pay prior to the levying of any fines and fees.
Attorney General Josh Stein says these measures will ‘meaningfully address the system’s unfair treatment of black people.”
In a press release, he said “I am encouraged that the task force was willing to move forward quickly in adopting these ideas and I look forward to continuing our important work.”
The task force is co-chaired by Associate Supreme Court Justice Anital Earls.
She said, “Today’s recommendations are basic reforms that have been well thought-out by numerous stakeholders, have broad consensus and can be implemented without delay. While they are only a start, they represent an important first step in the work of the task force.”
You can read the full press release here.
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