by Ashleigh N. Dye
Emancipate NC, a non-profit criminal justice organization based in Durham, North Carolina, has formed a database with the goal of tracking police misconduct within the state. The organization was founded to pushed for the accountability of law enforcement and police reform.
On March 8, 2021, a Black 14-year-old was handcuffed in the town of Fuquay-Varina after police wrongly accused him of stealing a dirt bike. Malcolm Ziglar’s father was later able to show proof of purchase for the bike. Emancipate NC supported the family by advocating for police reform.
The online platform will enable people to document any negative interaction with law enforcement. This documentation will be used to create a database that will allow Emancipate NC to track patterns of misconduct among individual officers or specific police agencies. Using the data gathered from this community reporting, Emancipate NC will push for officials to step in.
The executive director of the organization, Dawn Blagrove said “We want to normalize that any mistreatment by law enforcement, even mistreatment that does not result in physical harm, is still harmful.”
While the law enforcement agencies in North Carolina already have avenues in place for reporting misconduct, Emancipate NC said the need was there for more accountability in the form of transparency and policy.
A week after the database began Senate Bill 300 became law in North Carolina. Gov. Roy Cooper signed the new law that will create many databases geared towards tracking use of force incidents resulting in injury or death as well as those officers that have lost their certification or receive disciplinary action.
The director of the criminal justice program at Wake Forest Law School, Kami Chavis said “In this country we have long suffered from a lack of reliable information about police misconduct.”
Chavis, also a former prosecutor, believes that more information on police misconduct will be beneficial in following officers or specific agencies.
Blagrove said that when reporting to include information such as date, time, location, badge numbers, and names if possible. Emancipate NC will keep people’s information private unless give consent to release publicly.
She hopes that this database will assist with the creation of legislation one day and that it will be a mechanism for positive change using the responses gathered.
Blagrove said “We want to hear your story.” The focus is to make sure people “feel heard [and] feel validated,” she said.
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