Group asks for outside committee to review Raleigh police
Posted August 23, 2016
Raleigh, N.C. — Raleigh residents called on the city council Tuesday afternoon to reform Raleigh policing and accountability.
The group called PACT- Police Accountability Community Task Force- has taken a list of demands to city leaders. They want to see more accountability in the Raleigh Police Department and called for policy changes to eliminate bias in policing.
They say people in minority neighborhoods are targeted for stops and searches and PACT member Geraldine Alshamy said she has heard stories.
“People are not reporting what is actually happening and sooner or later, it will show up in some unfortunate way,” she said. “The community is scared. They are scared to come forward, to speak out.”
Members of PACT said minority communities are mistreated by officers. To have their demands heard, the group met with Raleigh Police Chief Cassandra Deck-Brown four times between May 25 and July 27.
The group said some good came from the meetings, including new consent to search forms that let residents know their rights.
“Which now explains, on the second line of the form, that citizens have the right to refuse search of property,” Alshamy said.
PACT is still pushing for other oversights, including a community-based board to oversee police.
“We cannot expect accountability in the Raleigh Police Department; we cannot get that accountability without an oversight committee that has some teeth,” said Alshamy.
In a memo, city leaders said that the creation of an oversight committee would likely require legislative action.
In the memo, released July 27, city leaders also laid out changes they are making as a result of the PACT meetings.
They wrote that Raleigh police personnel will soon receive bias training as the department evaluates additional uses and methods of review for stop-and-search data.
“Internally, the objective is for officers’ stop-and-search data to be regularly audited in order to further ensure acceptable behavior,” the memo said. “However, it is important to fully evaluate our current stop data to identify where both our strengths and weaknesses exist to ensure that we are taking appropriate actions if/when necessary.”
City leaders also said that, at the request of PACT, efforts will be made to increase the number of officers who receive crisis intervention training.
City leaders said the meetings were beneficial but that no more meetings are necessary at this time.
“We are going to fight for our right to a place at the table,” said PACT member Mary Hamrick.