Police

A painting of a Black masculine face covered in leaf print, with roses coming up his neck.
Courtesy of Being seen

How much does it matter to see people who look and identify like you in the media that you consume? In the new podcast "Being Seen" host Darnell Moore examines what it means to have culturally accurate and responsible depictions of the Black, male, queer experience. He joins host Frank Stasio and popular culture experts Natalie Bullock Brown and Mark Anthony Neal on this edition of #BackChannel, a series connecting culture and context, to talk about his interviews with artists, writers and others. 

Waynesville police car.
Smoky Mountain News

The price of local law enforcement is coming under increased scrutiny amidst nationwide calls to defund or abolish the police. Smoky Mountain News took a deep dive into the implications and possibilities for reallocating funding for law enforcement in four counties in Western North Carolina. 

Police Lights
Keith Kern, Creative Commons / https://bit.ly/2CFeh2a

An employee at a North Carolina police department has been placed on administrative leave following a social media post about George Floyd, officials said Thursday.

A picture of lights on a police car.
Alejandro Mejía Greene/JubiloHaku / Flickr Creative Commons

Five former detention officers and a nurse at a North Carolina jail have been charged with involuntary manslaughter after a man died last December, a district attorney said Wednesday.

Pixabay

Are protesters surveilling the police or vice versa? Law enforcement agencies use cell phone location-based data to identify and incriminate demonstrators. Yet handheld videosof police violence, shared online, prompted and sustained the ongoing wave of demonstrations.

Wilmington Police
pdpolicecars (Flickr) / https://bit.ly/2BFRfaK

Three members of a North Carolina police department have been fired after a department audit of a video recording captured one of the officers saying a civil war was necessary to wipe Black people off the map and that he was ready.

Police in riot gear stand in the street.
Jason deBruyn/WUNC

Where is the data on police violence? Every time a law enforcement officer uses a weapon, they submit a report justifying use of force. Police department procedures make those reports inaccessible to the public.

People gathered outside CMPD headquarters in uptown Charlotte on May 30 to protest. (WFAE)
Nick de la Canal / WFAE

The police department in North Carolina's largest city is coming under criticism after a video posted to social media appeared to show officers using chemical agents on demonstrators who were boxed in while protesting the death of George Floyd.

Melissa Sue Gerrits / Carolina Public Press, via AP

Police officers in Fayetteville took a knee in solidarity with protesters Monday, two days after the city had experienced violence and looting.

GCSO
Mike Leonard / Guilford County Sheriff's Office

Law enforcement agencies across the nation are having a hard time finding people to fill their open positions.

The number of people applying for jobs in law enforcement has been on the decline for the past five years, and it’s no different in North Carolina.

Danny Rogers, Guilford County's new sheriff.
Courtesy of Danny Rogers

Seven new African-American sheriffs were voted into office in the November midterms, and among them is Danny Rogers. On Monday, Dec. 3 Rogers became the first African-American at the helm of the Guilford County Sheriff’s Office

Photo of Kay Suber, Marcus Smith's sister, addresses the media. At left is Smith's mother, Mary Smith.
Courtesy Jordan Green / Triad City Beat

Two recent law enforcement interventions in Greensboro and Winston-Salem have prompted questions about police use of force. In Greensboro, Marcus Deon Smith died in the hospital hours after he was restrained by police in a position his family described as being “hogtied.” The family’s lawyer says the position left Smith unable to breathe. Smith’s family recently made a public request for Greensboro City Council members to review the police body camera footage from the incident.

Cover Image from ‘Resisting Arrest Poems To Stretch The Sky,’ a new anthology of poetry about police aggression against people of color.
Jacar Press

Does a smile help defend against potential police aggression? What is a mother’s role in protecting her child from a dangerous situation? A new collection of poems, “Resisting Arrest Poems to Stretch the Sky” (Jacar Press/2016), explores these questions through the work of more than 70 writers.
 

Image of Reginald Newberne, a former North Carolina State Trooper, against a brick wall.
Laura Pellicer

A former North Carolina State trooper won a $3.75 million verdict in a long-running whistleblower case. State trooper Reginald Newberne claims that in 2000, a fellow officer told Newberne he injured his hand while punching a teen suspect. Newberne says he was hesitant about filling out an official report, but he later offered a detailed account of the incident to his superiors. Newberne was subsequently fired from his position in the Highway Patrol for a violation of the “truthfulness directive”.
 

Durham Police Department

Nearly 150 communities across North Carolina will take part in the 33rd annual National Night Out.

The annual celebration aims to build relationships between police and citizens through an evening of entertainment and conversation. Organizers estimate more than 37 million people will participate nationwide.

Bettie Murchison
Leoneda Inge / WUNC

About 100 people gathered in downtown Raleigh Thursday evening to mark a "Black Lives Matter National Day of Action."

In Durham, another seven people chained themselves to a railing outside the Durham Police Department to protest the recent shooting deaths of African American men by police.

The protests were among several demonstration across the country in the weeks after recent shootings by police of black men in Minnesota and Louisiana.

Protestors said they wanted to bring attention to local issues related to police accountability, according to Rukiya Dillahunt.

East Durham, Durham, Police, Poverty, EDCI
Leoneda Inge / WUNC

Editor's note: This story is part of an occasional series on what area community leaders and residents are doing to balance "peace and pride" in their neighborhoods.

Every Friday in the basement of the Maureen Joy Charter School on South Driver Street in Durham, families get a bag of food packed with oatmeal, fruit bars, noodles, tuna, fruit boxes and more.

Photo of Carmelo Anthony, Chris Paul, Dwyane Wade and LeBron James speaking at the ESPY Awards.
Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP

In the past two weeks, violence by and against police has dominated headlines and rattled the country. Protests from movements like #BlackLivesMatter continue while celebrities use speeches and social media as a platform to make their voices heard.

Meanwhile, the ESPN documentary series "O.J.: Made In America" looks at race relations since the 1960s through the life of former athlete O.J. Simpson.

Photo: The North Carolina General Assembly's Legislative Building
Jorge Valencia

Republican leaders at the General Assembly are working to wrap up the short session.

Today the Senate is considering a flurry of bills, including some of the most controversial legi slation of the session. One proposal could change the way police officers do their work and another could reorganize the Asheville City Council.

Photo: A camera pinned on a police uniform
cops.usdoj.gov

Police body cameras are slowly catching on in North Carolina as a way to hold both police and civilians accountable for their actions. But body cameras also raise questions about the privacy of the people they record.

Should that footage be public record? And will body cameras be the answer for communities that have lost trust in their police force?

A traffic stop in Fairfax County, Virginia
Fairfax Police Department

In 2009, a sheriff’s deputy in mostly rural Orange County pulled over slightly more than 100 drivers. In most cases, the deputy determined equipment in the driver’s vehicle was malfunctioning and in a few that the vehicle was traveling unsafely along the road. The deputy stopped drivers for reasons that starkly contrasted those of most Orange County deputies, who pulled over a majority for unsafe driving and a relative few for malfunctioning equipment.

A picture of lights on a police car.
Alejandro Mejía Greene/JubiloHaku / Flickr Creative Commons

In response to allegations of racial disparities in policing, the Greensboro police chief has instructed his force not to stop vehicles for  minor traffic violations based on equipment infractions.

A picture of lights on a police car.
Alejandro Mejía Greene/JubiloHaku / Flickr Creative Commons

The Greensboro Police Department is reviewing its records of traffic stops, after a New York Times article revealed deep racial discrepancies.

The newspaper's analysis found that Greensboro police searched black drivers more than twice as often as white drivers, even though they found contraband more often when the driver was white.

Joslin Simms, the mother of Ray Simms who was murdered in May of 2005.
Justin Cook / justincookphoto.com/

Durham is a city on the rise. And over the past decade or so, it has established a reputation for its change and rapid development. 

But not far away from the city's booming downtown and repurposed factories  is a part of the city that is dealing with high crime rates and the losses of their young men due to violence and prison.

It is a tale of two cities: one prosperous and open to tourist and transplants, the other isolated and dealing with violence and drugs.

Photo: A camera pinned on a police uniform
cops.usdoj.gov

A bipartisan group of North Carolina lawmakers is proposing that some of the state’s largest police departments and sheriffs’ offices be required to have their officers wear body cameras while they’re on patrol.

The bill—which would impact law enforcement agencies serving roughly 60 percent of the state’s population, including in Raleigh, Charlotte, Wilmington and Asheville—would set aside $10 million over two years to help agencies pay for the cost of equipment and storing thousands of hours of video.

Breathing Back

Feb 24, 2015
Breathing Back: A Meditation Chorus is now on display at The Carrack.
Alexis Pauline Gumbs / http://thecarrack.org/exhibit/breathingback/

  The final words uttered by Eric Garner, "I can't breathe," have become a mantra for protesters across the nation speaking out against police brutality.

Two Durham-based artists have repurposed the phrase for a new cause: to help outraged and exhausted communities connect to a legacy of activism and build resources for their long-term spiritual, emotional and physical resilience. They call it “Black Feminist Breathing.”

The City of Greensboro is welcoming police and the community to discuss their relationship tonight.

Greensboro Human Relations Executive Director Love Crossling organized of the event.  She says some neighborhoods are satisfied with their interactions with police officers.

“We have other pockets of the community where there is debate about whether or not there is a level of courtesy and respect and adherence to policy and procedure.”

Photo: UNC School of Law
Photo by Caroline Culler

Prosecutors, defense attorneys, activists and former police officers will discuss the deaths of unarmed minorities at the hands of law enforcement at a forum at the University of North Carolina School of Law today.

The forum, organized by law school professors, will include three panels examining civil rights, self defense, and the use of force from legal, historical and activist perspectives, said Associate Professor Tamar Birckhead, one of the organizers.

Durham Police at Jesus Huerta protest in December 2013
Laura Lee

    

Across the nation, protestors have taken to the street to call for reforms in police action. The protests come in the wake of  two grand juries declining to indict police officers who killed Eric Garner and Michael Brown.

From the coast to the mountains, activists in North Carolina have joined the movement calling for greater police accountability.

 Saint Paul, Minnesota police officers covered in riot gear march and line up during the 2008 Republican National Convention (RNC) at the Xcel Energy Center.
Tony Webster

Police departments across the state of North Carolina are arming themselves with the same weapons and gear as the U.S. military. 

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