North Carolina Chief Justice's message about statewide unrest
The Chief Justice of North Carolina's Supreme Court, Chief Justice Cheri Beasley, shared recommendations in response to the worldwide protests and riots over the killing of George Floyd while in police custody.
Beasley spoke on a range of topics, including asking the courts to develop a plan for accountability, as well as explaining her plan to make improvements to the state's court system.
Beasley explained, as a mother of two black sons, she recognizes the issues within the justice system. She emphasized that communities need to be more understanding of the root of what's fueling these actions.
"We must be willing to hear that message, even when we are saddened by the way it is delivered. We must decry the failures of justice and equity just as forcefully as we decry violence. It is not enough to say to protesters, 'Go home. And follow the rules.' It's just not that simple," said Beasley.
She says the courts do play a role in this and must do better. The chief justice explained a study showed that the majority of North Carolinians lack trust in the court systems, and also that African Americans are more harshly treated, more severely punished, and more likely to be guilty.
Beasley said she's continuing her plans to make improvements; such as expanding school justice partnerships to keep kids in school and out of court and examining bail policies. As for the violence and looting, Beasley said though it's disheartening, it's a response to decades of injustice.
Beasley said, "Communities are crying out for justice and demanding real, meaningful change. It is shocking to see our workplaces, businesses, and community spaces damaged, but we must recognize the legitimate pain and weight of years of mistreatment that fuels these demonstrations."
To add more improvements, Beasley said this week, she will launch the Faith and Justice Alliance to address the legal needs of low-income North Carolinians.
The Faith and Justice Alliance, or F-J-A, was inspired by an already-established model in Tennessee, according to NCCourts.gov.