North Carolina Supreme Court Chief Justice Cheri Beasley has issued a call for action within the criminal justice system in the midst of ongoing protests against police brutality.
“We must develop a plan for accountability in our courts,” Beasley said. “Judges work hard and are committed to serving the public. But even the best judges must be trained to recognize our own biases. We have to be experts not just in the law, but in equity, equity that recognizes the difficult truths about our shared past. We must openly acknowledge the disparities that exist and are too often perpetuated by our justice system.”
Beasley made the statements during a press conference on June 2, a day after protesters packed the streets of downtown Raleigh near the Supreme Court building. She said that the protests highlight the disparities and injustice that continue to plague black communities and exist as the result of policies and institutions that “have remained stubbornly fixed and resistant to change.”
“I felt compelled to speak today about the pain and grief our nation is experiencing over the deaths of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, and far too many others,” Beasley said. “Much of the pain is grounded in the belief that justice is perpetually denied in cases involving African-Americans.”
Beasley teared up when she mentioned her twin sons, two young black men, saying that as a mother, she knows that calls for change have to be heeded.
“While we rely on our political leaders to institute those necessary changes, we must also acknowledge the distinct role that our courts play,” Beasley said. “We must come together to firmly and loudly commit to the declaration that all people are created equal, and we must do more than just speak that truth. We must live it every day in our courtrooms. My pledge to you today is that we will … my hopeful prayer is that we continue to learn and grow together and that we have the courage to make change where change is so desperately needed.”