In response to America’s recent string of notorious police killings, four area National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) branches presented a six-point agenda for transforming law enforcement to top representatives of North Carolina’s Prosecutorial District 18 (which covers Orange and Chatham counties) on Wednesday and will host a virtual community-wide town hall meeting on police reforms Saturday, June 27, from 4 to 5:30 p.m.
Wednesday's virtual meeting with the police chiefs of Chapel Hill, Carrboro, Hillsborough, Mebane and University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC), along with Orange County Sheriff Charles Blackwood and Orange-Chatham County District Attorney James Woodall, will be followed up with a similar meeting of Chatham County law enforcement and judicial representatives in July.
The agenda covered accountability on use of force, police records transparency, hiring of police officers, investment in communities, removing police from schools and an overall concept of reimagined justice.
“This started as a joint collaboration between Orange and Chatham County NAACP branches,” said Anna Richards, president of the Chapel Hill-Carrboro NAACP Branch. “We developed a draft of reforms as we got input from community stakeholders. Based on today’s meeting, we’ll hold a virtual community-wide town hall meeting this Saturday, June 27th.”
Brian Crawford, communications director for the Northern Orange County NAACP said today’s effort also includes the Chatham Community and West Chatham NAACP branches: “Together, our four branches correspond with the area covered by North Carolina’s 18th Prosecutorial District and we felt we needed a more systemic approach that includes our prosecutor and our regional judicial system.”
“The asphyxiation murder of George Floyd was unspeakable, but sadly, more police killings are happening so rapidly that every time we make a list, it is obsolete before we can publish it,” Richards said. Yet, she says the NAACP is looking at broad solutions, not just regulating police tactics.
“As stated by our national NAACP President Derrick Johnson, ‘this is not about one incident, this is about the systemic and pervasive nature of racism in this nation that must be addressed,’” Richards said.