Community group recommends changes to Greensboro’s police policies

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GREENSBORO, N.C. – A community group that includes the mayor and city council members is backing a plan that could change police policies in Greensboro.

The Community-City Working Group has been working on racial issues in Greensboro since March. Leaders said it was meant to address a systemic problem of racial bias that goes back decades.

“The time has come for all in Greensboro black, brown, white, citizens and law enforcement officers to work together for the common good and to build up one city,” said Julie Peeples, a pastor and group member.

The group unveiled recommendations that include limiting the number of “contacting” stops — which they characterize as a form of racial profiling — police officers can make.

The group would also like to see police end delaying, obstructing or resisting arrest charges for people who aren’t charged with anything else.

Another recommendation is to stop making marijuana a high-priority crime. The group argues it is used as a justification to target and over-police the black community, specifically young black men.

Finally, the group wants to make sure the anti-bias training done by police is thoroughly reviewed and revised.

“I can’t say that we’re all in the same place and I won’t say that we’re all in agreement, we just want everyone in the city to feel like they’re treated the same,” Mayor Nancy Vaughan said.

The group said it’s also important to share what they’ve learned from eight months of working together with the community.

“The problem of misuse and abuse of police authority is real and it’s hurtful,” said Revered Nelson Johnson, another group member. “Greensboro can be the greatest city in the nation, but we have to change our ways and we have to do it now.”

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