"I don't think there's ever been a point in time where I have seen more eyes open about this issue than I have now," Cooper said as he kicked off the first meeting of the North Carolina Task Force for Racial Equity in Criminal Justice. "I don't think there's any question that there are many individual success stories out there across the state and the country, and many of you have been involved in those success stories. But overall there are systemic racial issues in our systems that we have to fix."
WATCH: NC Racial Equity Task Force hosts first meeting
The Task Force has 23 members from a variety of social, economic, religious, geographic and professional backgrounds:
- Anita Earls, Associate Justice of the NC Supreme Court
- Josh Stein, NC Attorney General
- Tarrah Callahan, Executive Director of Conservatives for Criminal Justice Reform
- Brooke Locklear Clark, District Court Judge
- James E. Clemmons, Jr.,Richmond County Sheriff
- Mitch Colvin, Mayor of Fayetteville
- C.J. Davis, Chief of Durham Police Department
- James D. Gailliard, North Carolina General Assembly representative for District 25
- Billy Gartin, Sergeant for the Raleigh Police Department
- Michael Hawkins, Transylvania County Commissioner
- Henderson Hill, Senior Counsel of the ACLU Capital Punishment Project
- Erik A. Hooks, Secretary of the North Carolina Department of Public Safety.
- John Ingram, Sheriff of Brunswick County
- John Letteney, Chief of Apex Police Department
- Mujtaba Mohammed, North Carolina State Senator representing District 38
- Marcia Morey, North Carolina General Assembly Representative for House District 30
- Mary Pollard, Executive Director of the North Carolina Prisoner Legal Services Inc
- Kerwin Pittman, Founder and Executive Director of Recidivism Reduction Education Program Services
- Ronnie Smith, President-Elect of the North Carolina Association of County Commissioners
- Alan Thornburg, Superior Court Judge for Buncombe County
- Talley Wells, Executive Director of the North Carolina Council on Developmental Disabilities
- Angelica Wind, Executive Director of Our Voice, Inc.
- James Raeford Woodall Jr., District Attorney for the 18th Prosecutorial District in Chatham and Orange counties
Cooper said the task force is a response to the ongoing demonstrations after the murder of George Floyd, who was killed by former Minneapolis Police Department officer Derek Chauvin at the end of May. Chauvin is charged with second-degree murder in Floyd's death. Three other former officers who were present at the time of the murder are charged with abetting second-degree murder.