Rally pushes for Gov. Cooper to use clemency powers
Posted November 15, 2020 6:31 p.m. EST
Updated November 16, 2020 12:03 a.m. EST
Raleigh, N.C. — Dozens of people gathered in Raleigh on Sunday to call on Gov. Roy Cooper to use his clemency powers to free people in prisons.
Demonstrators said the governor didn't use any of his clemency powers during his first term to pardon people convicted of crimes. Event organizers added that there are injustices in the criminal justice system, and using clemency power helps correct them.
About 40 people gathered and marched on Sunday around the Executive Mansion.
Demonstrators said they’re standing up for people in prison who haven’t received clemency from Cooper.
"It's a call to on him to do that and to put a spotlight on the decadent system -- criminal justice system here in the state of North Carolina," said Rev. Dr. T. Anthony Spearman, the president of the North Carolina chapter of the NAACP.
Speakers at the event said there are a number of people who have been wrongfully incarcerated for years in North Carolina's prisons and that coronavirus has been devastating to prisoners serving time.
Demonstrator Daniel Bowes said use of clemency in North Carolina is long overdue.
"It's the most flexible and direct path to both protect people from COVID in prison, but also to end mass incarceration," Bowes said.
Cooper's office didn't respond to a request for comment.
Demonstrators said they won’t rest until change comes within the system.