Raleigh joins forces with Department of Justice to address gun violence

Thursday, February 15, 2024
Raleigh teams up with DOJ to address gun violence
RPD and Chief Estella Patterson introduced a new crime-fighting strategy at a news conference on Thursday.

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- Because of an increase in illegal firearms being recovered, the City of Raleigh is teaming up with the U.S. Department of Justice.

The Raleigh Police Department and the Department of Justice have been meeting for the last two days to come up with strategies and collaborative ways to address violent crime.

The organizations elaborated on those plans at a news conference Thursday afternoon.

"A surge of training resources and technical support valued at over $1 million," said Michael Easley, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of North Carolina. "It will put the City of Raleigh in a league of its own."

Raleigh will become the sixth city to join the National Public Safety Partnership.

Full news conference: Raleigh Police Department Chief Estella Patterson said the goal is to address violence before it happens.

Though the city's crime rate is relatively low -- 1% above the national average, Police Chief Estella Patterson said the joint effort will help with one of the biggest challenges: Raleigh's exploding population.

"That creates challenges for resources, making sure that we have enough officers, tools that we need," Patterson said.

Dawn Blagrove, executive director of Emancipate NC, a nonprofit social activist organization, sent a letter in April to the DOJ about patterns and practices in policing.

"We are excited and pleased that the Department of Justice took our concerns seriously and selected Raleigh Police Department to be one of the participants in one of these crime-prevention programs."

SEE ALSO | City of Raleigh highlights measures to improve downtown safety

Blagrove said better policing practices are needed.

"We discussed the number of deaths at the hands of RPD within the last decade," she said. "We talked about the concerns that we had about their proactive policing practices, and that they looked very much like unconstitutional stop and frisk, and racial profiling."

Raleigh is partnering with the Department of Justice to address gun violence and enhance public safety in the city.

She said she's hopeful but reserved.

"It appears that many of the officers that need proper oversight are not getting that oversight, and if they are getting that oversight - then there's a much larger problem within the department as to what is acceptable in Black communities ... Having policies in place is great, but if nobody is enforcing them, they don't have a material impact on the way Black people are treated by law enforcement."

Patterson said she welcomed discussion with concerned parties.

"For those that are saying there's a division there between police and the community, we invite them to the table," Patterson said.

Emancipate NC told ABC11 on Thursday that it plans to file a wrongful-death lawsuit against the City of Raleigh in the in-custody death of Darryl Williams.

"At the end of March at the very latest," said Blagrove.

In response, the Raleigh Police Department said it cannot comment on potential or pending litigation.

Other cities selected for this federal partnership with the DOJ include Greensboro, Richmond, Virginia, and Washington, D.C.