As the Winston-Salem Journal reports, Forsyth County District Attorney Jim O’Neil announced this week that five former detention officers and a nurse have been charged with involuntary manslaughter following the death of John Neville at the Forsyth County Detention Center in December. The announcement of the charges came the day before an autopsy report was released that said that Neville’s death was caused in part by a restraint technique used by detention officers while Neville was in the midst of a medical emergency. Five people were arrested for impeding traffic at a protest outside the detention center on Wednesday where they were calling for the release of video footage of the events surrounding Neville’s death. Keep reading for more on this story and other news.
Three Wilmington police officers were fired on Wednesday after dash-cam footage from an officer’s patrol vehicle showed the officers engaging in racist conversations with each other, including one conversation that was explicitly violent. The conversations occurred in early June, soon after protests started in Wilmington related to the killing of George Floyd. The officers, Michael ‘Kevin’ Piner, Jesse E. Moore II, and James ‘Brian’ Gilmore each had been with the Wilmington Police Department since the late 90’s. The content of the conversations is horrifying and the story has become national news. Keep reading for more on this and other news.
There was notable criminal law legislation in the General Assembly this week where lawmakers unanimously passed the North Carolina First Step Act and the Second Chance Act. As the News & Observer reports, some legislators have said that the fact that the bills had unanimous support is a signal that the legislature may take up additional criminal justice reform legislation. The bills now go to Governor Roy Cooper, who one of the bills’ cosponsors blamed for over-incarceration in the state, for approval. Keep reading for more on this story and other news.
WRAL reports that in the aftermath of the killing of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer, the police departments in Raleigh, Durham, and Fayetteville generally are adopting policies consistent with the “8 Can’t Wait” campaign which advocates for reduced use of force policing practices. Among the eight policy suggestions is a ban on chokeholds and strangleholds. Keep reading for more on this story and other news.
The nation has been gripped by protests this week following the death of George Floyd while he was in police custody in Minneapolis. As the News Roundup noted last week, former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin pinned Floyd’s neck to the ground with his knee for nearly nine minutes while Floyd, who was handcuffed, pleaded that he could not breathe and bystanders repeatedly told Chauvin and other officers at the scene that Floyd appeared to be in great distress. A memorial service for Floyd, who had family in North Carolina and was born in Fayetteville, is scheduled to be held on Saturday in Raeford, where his sister lives. Keep reading for more on this story and other news.
Carolina Public Press reports that last week three current and former employees of the Cherokee County Department of Social Services were indicted on a range of charges arising from an alleged “yearslong Cherokee County DSS practice that separated children from their parents without the oversight of a judge.” Former Cherokee DSS director Cindy Palmer (who now is the department’s business officer), former Child Protective Unit supervisor David Hughes, and the department’s former attorney, Scott Lindsay, were charged with various felonies and misdemeanors arising from the practice. Keep reading for more on this story and other news.
This week several North Carolina news outlets jointly reported that a nurse at Caswell Correctional Center, Barbara Anne Stewart, died earlier this month after testing positive for the coronavirus. Stewart, who fell ill in late March, had worked for the Department of Public Safety for more than 25 years according to the report. The North Carolina Department of Labor now is investigating her death, including examining whether any violations of health and safety standards contributed to her illness. Keep reading for more news.
The Los Angeles Times reported late Wednesday night that federal law enforcement agents seized North Carolina Senator Richard Burr’s cellphone while serving a search warrant at Burr’s Washington, D.C., residence. The LA Times report also says that agents served a warrant on Apple in recent days to obtain information from Burr’s iCloud account. The search warrants come as an investigation intensifies into whether Burr profited off of nonpublic information about the coronavirus in the early days of the pandemic by selling significant investment holdings prior to the downturn in the stock market. On Thursday morning, Burr announced that he would step down as Chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee. Keep reading for more news.