During its annual planning meeting last week, the N.C. Task Force for Racial Equity in Criminal Justice released its 2023 year-end report; summarizing its work and making recommendations for the future.
Formed after the 2020 police killings of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper created the task force to address existing policies and procedures that disproportionately affect communities of color and developing solutions to ensure racial equity in North Carolina’s criminal justice system.
“George Floyd was not the first victim of excessive force,” Gov. Cooper stated during the task force’s announcement in 2020. “Too many other people of color have been harassed, harmed, injured or killed. Added together, their lives and their stories have made this spotlight too bright to ignore.”
“These numbers are stark. They tell a story that black Americans have been living & telling us every day – even when there’s no spotlight,” Gov. Cooper added. “It’s important to recognize these numbers and identify the disparities. But it’s even more important and challenging to do something about it.”
Led by North Carolina Supreme Court Associate Justice Anita Earls and Eddie M. Buffaloe Jr., Secretary of the N.C. Department of Public Safety, the task force includes representatives from state departments, law enforcement agencies, the legislation, local elected officials, organizations, district attorneys, public defenders, and more.
In its latest report, the task force highlighted the progress its made since its inception three years ago.
In the last year, the state established an Office of Violence Prevention and developed new basic law enforcement training, including increasing training hours from 640 to 868, according to WRAL.
In addition, the state required more training in ethics, de-escalation, and crisis intervention.
On the local level, the task force supported local violence prevention initiatives, such as:
- New Hanover County’s Port City United, a violence prevention and intervention program established in the wake of school violence;
- Greensboro Police Department’s co-responder team to respond to mental health calls; Duke University Hospital’s hospital-based violence interruption program;
- Raleigh Police Department’s work to train its entire department on its duty-to-intervene policy.
“I think it builds trust in our community,” Buffaloe Jr. told WRAL. “That’s what we’re trying to do across the board with these new policies and practices across our state.”
You can read the full report here.