Marcia Morey on criminal justice reform

A great representative and a good friend, Marcia Morey also has served for 18 years as a judge. Her perspective about reforms is invaluable. Here's an excerpt:

EDITOR’S NOTE: The following is the text of a letter state Rep. Marcia Morey, D-Durham -- who spent 18 years as a District Court Judge in Durham County – has sent to constituents and others who have contacted her office concerning the death of North Carolina native George Floyd and issues of racism and discrimination in law enforcement.

I appreciate your writing and sharing your thoughts about the tragic death of George Floyd and many others as we grapple with systemic racism and police brutality. Police should be our guardians to protect and serve, not to abuse their authority or use military tactics against people who peacefully demonstrate. I am heartened that some police agencies are making changes, but there is a long way to go.

In my 18 years as a judge I saw many incidents of injustice and misuse of police power. I left the bench to come to the General Assembly to fight for justice and equality. I remain committed to do so especially in this day and time.

I agree we need reform now. In my three years in the House of Representatives I have advocated for criminal law reform including: end cash bail, require that any person in jail for misdemeanor charges have a right to a first appearance, stop 16 and 17 year olds from being prosecuted as adults, and the Second Chance Act to help restart lives of those who have been incarcerated.

Along with legislative changes, law enforcement and community leaders must begin to act now. We must require appropriate training of law enforcement and reducing the risk of harm and violence by adopting policies, as recommended by Campaign Zero and 8cantwait to:

  • Require officers to de-escalate situations, where possible, by communicating with subjects, maintaining distance, and otherwise eliminating the need to use force.
  • Ban officers from using chokeholds and strangleholds, in many cases where less lethal force could be used instead.
  • Require officers to intervene and stop excessive force used by other officers and report these incidents immediately to a supervisor.
  • Restrict officers from shooting at moving vehicles, which is regarded as a particularly dangerous and ineffective tactic.
  • Develop a Force Continuum that limits the types of force and/or weapons that can be used to respond to specific types of resistance.
  • Require officers to exhaust all other reasonable means before resorting to deadly force.
  • Require officers to give a verbal warning, when possible, before shooting at a civilian.
  • Require officers to report each time they use force or threaten to use force against civilians.
  • Failing to require officers to exhaust all other reasonable means before resorting to deadly force.
  • Failing to require officers to give a verbal warning, when possible, before shooting at a civilian.
  • Failing to require officers to report each time they use force or threaten to use force against civilians.

https://www.wral.com/marcia-morey-act-now-to-end/19134416/

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