Carolina Public Press reports that Governor Cooper’s administration and the NC NAACP have reached a settlement in a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the conditions of confinement in North Carolina prisons during the ongoing pandemic. The report says the settlement provides for the early release of 3,500 people over the next 180 days and notes that the prison population has decreased by about 6,000 people since February of last year. In addition, an anonymous complaint system must be established for incarcerated people to report noncompliance with virus mitigation requirements. Keep reading for more news.
A multi-state search for a woman wanted in connection with a January murder at a Hickory furniture plant is ongoing this week and a U.S. Marshal said that there is a good chance that the woman and her husband, who also is wanted on suspicion of being an accessory after the fact, are still in the greater Hickory area. Keep reading for more on this story and other news.
The Fayetteville Observer reports that Fayetteville law enforcement is asking the public for information about a disturbing series of burglaries in the city over the past few months. On several occasions, home security cameras have captured images of a masked person wearing kneepads burglarizing people’s homes while they slept inside. A police spokesman said that the suspect appears to be intentionally targeting the homes of elderly people. Keep reading for more news.
As USA Today reports, fallen United States Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick, who was killed during a violent insurrection by extremist supporters of former President Donald Trump in early January, laid in honor in the Capitol Rotunda on Wednesday before his interment at Arlington National Cemetery. Sicknick is the third Capitol Police officer to receive that honor, the first two being Jacob Chestnut and John Gibson who were shot by an armed intruder in 1998. Keep reading for more news.
WNCT reports that the Greenville Police Department and the Pitt County Sheriff’s Department, in partnerships with Integrated Family Services, will soon launch Co-Responder Mental Health Response Programs. Under the GPD program, which starts next week, IFS professionals will work directly out of police headquarters and respond alongside law enforcement officers to situations involving possible mental health crises. The GPD program, which will be the first of its kind in eastern North Carolina, will begin next week, and the program at the Sheriff’s Department will begin later this spring. Keep reading for more news. Continue reading →
The Greensboro News & Record reports that Christopher Spencer of Pilot Mountain has become the first North Carolinian to face federal charges in connection with the deadly insurrection at the United States Capitol earlier this month. The report says that Spencer has been charged with obstructing official proceedings, unlawful entry, and disorderly conduct. Investigators apparently were aided by Facebook livestreams Spencer allegedly posted showing him encouraging others to kick open doors in the building and yelling obscenities at police officers. His father Winston Spencer told the News & Record that his son’s participation in the incident “has been blown out of proportion.” Keep reading for more news.
The deadly attack on the United States Capitol by extremist supporters of President Donald Trump continues to dominate the national news this week as federal and state law enforcement agencies undertake the massive task of identifying and arresting perpetrators from across the country. Keep reading for more on this story and other news.
Readers no doubt already are aware of the criminal law news of this sad week in America where President Donald Trump is being blamed for inciting extremist political supporters to engage in a violent siege on the United States Capitol. One person, Air Force veteran Ashli Babbitt, was shot dead by police as she and other rioters attempted to breach a barricaded door in the Capitol. The deadly force used to repel Babbitt was remarkable in its singularity – throngs of rioters beset the Capitol and met little resistance, with video footage showing some police officers moving barriers, standing aside, and even posing for selfies in the midst of what Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell later called a “failed insurrection.” Keep reading for more news.
A joint investigation by the Orange County Sheriff’s Office and the U.S. DEA focusing on drug trafficking at fraternities at UNC made national news late this week when prosecutors announced charges against 21 people. An Associated Press report says that people connected to the Phi Gamma Delta, Kappa Sigma, and Betta Theta Pi fraternities at UNC are alleged to have distributed more than a half-ton of marijuana, hundreds of kilograms of cocaine, and significant quantities of other drugs between 2017 and the spring of 2020. Some of the drugs apparently were distributed at Duke and Appalachian State as well. In a press release, U.S. Attorney Matthew G.T. Martin said that the “investigation reveals that the fraternity culture at these universities is dangerous” and called on University administrators and national fraternity chapters to intervene. Keep reading for more news.
Last week the News Roundup noted that staff at prisons and jails are expected to be among the first Americans to receive COVID vaccinations when they become available and that there is an ongoing national debate about how to prioritize vaccination of incarcerated people. The Charlotte Observer reported this week that the Mecklenburg County jail has been placed on lockdown for at least two days because of a massive surge in the number of cases at the facility. In a statement released Thursday, the sheriff’s office said that 107 inmates and 20 staff members recently tested positive for the virus. Keep reading for more news.