May 5, 2021/Media, Press

In Series Of Bills, North Carolina Democrats Fight For Criminal Justice Reform

Yesterday, Democrats rolled out a slate of criminal justice reforms, including banning use of force practices like chokeholds, reforming cash bail, raising the age of juvenile jurisdiction, and putting forth many of the policies recommended by Governor Cooper’s Task Force for Racial Equity. 

“In North Carolina and across the country, communities are demanding change and reform to our criminal justice system, and Democrats are working to get it done,” said NCDP Chair Bobbie Richardson. ”Recent events continue to reinforce the systematic violence against Black and Brown communities that plague our state and nation. That’s why I’m calling on Republicans in the General Assembly to immediately take up these bills. Our state desperately needs our legislature to make progress on this issue — justice demands it.”

Read more: 

CBS 17: Criminal justice reforms move forward in NC General Assembly, but no change to bodycam footage law — “Democrats in the General Assembly have called for changes to the law that would presume body camera videos are public records and require they be available to be released 48 hours after an incident unless a judge finds a compelling reason why the videos should not be released. ‘The current process doesn’t work,’ said Sen. Mujtaba Mohammed (D-Mecklenburg). ‘And, I don’t think it’s appropriate to put the onus on the public. So, any fixes to the current body camera law would be much appreciated.’ Democrats have called for those reforms to go further, highlighting the various recommendations of Gov. Roy Cooper’s Racial Equity Task Force. During a news conference Tuesday, they called attention to proposals to require a special prosecutor in police use-of-force cases, making body camera video a public record, and decriminalizing small amounts of marijuana and reforms to cash bail, among other priorities.

WRAL: Police reform bill set to move, without change in body camera policy — “House and Senate Democrats held a press conference Tuesday calling for a raft of more progressive changes, laid out in 26 bills of their own. Democratic lawmakers thanked Republican colleagues during Tuesday’s news conference for the changes that are coming, even as they pressed for more, including a shift in body camera policy. Among the other proposals Democrats have generally backed that aren’t in the GOP bills: A ban on no-knock warrants, an end to life without parole sentences for juvenile defendants, large-scale bail reforms, the legalization or decriminalization of possessing small amounts of marijuana, a new requirement to bring in a special prosecutor to review officer-involved shootings, a ban on law enforcement chokeholds, and Changes in court fines and fees to lower the impact on poor people, including changes that would allow people who can’t afford their fines to keep their driver’s licenses so they can get to and from work.”

The Center Square: North Carolina Democrats file slew of bills to overhaul state’s criminal justice system — “North Carolina legislative Democrats have introduced nearly three dozen bills to revamp the state’s criminal justice system. The legislation calls for reforms to the cash bail system, law enforcement policy, court appearance penalties, the death penalty, sentencing and incarceration policies…The lawmakers also filed bills to decriminalize marijuana, increase the penalty for hate crimes and block no-knock warrants. The joint effort by House and Senate Democrats was announced a day after the funeral of Andrew Brown Jr., a Black man killed last month by Pasquotank County deputies. ‘Acts of violence such as these have reignited the conversation and the effort to enact meaningful criminal justice reform,’ said Senate Minority Leader Dan Blue, D-Wake…’We’re providing a lot of options to the General Assembly to help move North Carolina forward as a state where every person can live free from fear of indignities and injustice,’ Sen. Natalie Murdock, D-Durham, said. ‘But, if we’re going to make meaningful changes, we can’t be the only ones doing the talking.’”