Chapel Hill NAACP – Civilian Review Boards

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The Chapel Hill/Carrboro NAACP, together with the Triangle Branch of the Womens’ International League for Peace & Freedom, are hosting a forum this coming Saturday on the formation of Civilian Police Review Boards.

That is: Saturday, April 11, 4pm – 6pm, at the Rogers Road Community Center, 101 Edgar Street, Chapel Hill, NC 27516.

Both organizations have been spending some months researching formation of Civilian Police Review Boards. And this meeting serves as a follow-up to a meeting they sponsored with local police chiefs earlier this year.

This meeting and their efforts are crucial. Please attend. Now, that said, I want to distinguish between their approach and the one I and several others are pursuing, specifically, and to begin with, in Carrboro, NC.

Review Boards, by definition, deal after the event with police activity. My approach, called ‘citizen design of policing,’ involves lobbying the funding agencies for law enforcement, to get them to include citizens in the design and monitoring of police policy, and rules of conduct and engagement, so that citizens not only get to take action after activity, but are actually involved in setting the terms of that activity in the first place.

The next step in regards to the latter is that the Carrboro Board of Aldermen are supposed to be hosting a community forum in early June, where citizens should be allowed to start the process of engaging with their police and their elected Aldermen, to help design the policing approach in Carrboro. I will be keeping folks updated.

In the meantime, the meeting this Saturday features the following speakers:

Rev. Nelson Johnson, The Beloved Community in Greensboro, key organizers of Greensboro’s CRB. Rev. Johnson is also chief spokesperson for the Statewide Coalition to change State Law and empower local CRBs.

Diane Standert, Legal Redress Chair of the Durham NAACP Branch, instrumental with its community partners in assuring transparency and accountability of Durham’s CRB

Attendees will also hear about a statewide effort to support legislation introduced by Rep. Rodney Moore and supported by local State representatives. HB 193 would remove barriers so that local governments can establish CRBs with investigative and subpoena powers.

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