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Earls, Stein to lead Governor’s task force for racial equity in criminal justice

North Carolina Supreme Court Justice Anita Earls and Attorney General Josh Stein will head a task force that Gov. Roy Cooper said will lead to reforms to combat racism in the North Carolina justice system.

Cooper announced that he has signed an executive order forming the Task Force for Racial Equity and Criminal Justice on June 9, saying it will work to devise and implement policies that will ensure that minorities are treated fairly.

Cooper said that black men are 2.5 times more likely to be killed by law enforcement and are six times more likely to be incarcerated than white adults.

“These numbers are stark, and they tell a story that black Americans have been living and telling us every day, even when there is no spotlight,” Cooper said.

Cooper said law enforcement officials have told him that they recognize that changes must be made.

“They need for people to have faith and trust in them for the system to work,” Cooper said. “Right now, too many do not.”

Stein said that among other things, the task force will review pretrial release policies and the use of fines and fees, and study how to build and maintain trust between law enforcement officers and the communities that they are charged with serving and protecting. 

“We have it to make North Carolina a safe place for every person, no matter who you are,” Stein said.

The task force will submit its findings and recommendations in December.

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