Raleigh, NC – Anti-police advocates have voiced their opposition to an element of the North Carolina Sheriffs Association’s (NCSA) law enforcement reform recommendations that calls for high school students to watch educational videos about how to interact with police.
In its reforms report, the NCSA recommended that choke holds be banned unless the officer is fighting for their own life or to save the life of someone else, The Charlotte Observer reported.
The sheriffs’ association further supported the establishment of mandates requiring officers to intervene when they witness fellow officers using excessive force, and agreed that any such incidents should also be reported.
Regular psychological screenings, ongoing standardized training, and the establishment of a public database listing officers who have had their certifications revoked were also issues endorsed by the NCSA, among many others, according to The Charlotte Observer.
But when the sheriffs’ association suggested that all North Carolina high school students be required watch educational videos about how to interact with police by the time they hit their junior year, they immediately received backlash from critics.
“It is sad that they would sink to that level of propaganda,” North Carolina Task Force for Racial Equity in Criminal Justice board member Kerwin Pittman told The Charlotte Observer.
According to Pittman, exposing teens to footage like the educational videos the NCSA has suggested could potentially skew the students’ understanding in favor of police, and would therefore enable officers to more easily violate their rights in the future, The Charlotte Observer reported.
NCSA Executive Vice President Eddie Caldwell, who also serves as the association’s general counsel, said that providing students with more information shouldn’t be a controversial issue.
“I don’t see how anybody could find it controversial or be opposed to educating high school kids on what the law requires…That’s just education,” Caldwell told The Charlotte Observer.
The NCSA’s report also recommended that school resource officer positions be retained, and opposed changes to qualified immunity laws and citizen review boards, according to the paper.
Pittman said the sheriffs’ association’s report was nothing more than an attempt to stop the task force from implementing police reforms, The Charlotte Observer reported.
“I honestly believe it is a veiled attempt to try to circumvent real change when it comes to true accountability as well as re-imagining public safety,” Pittman said.