Morning Headlines: Thursday, November 12, 2015
Greensboro Police End Stops For Minor Traffic Infractions
The Greensboro Police Department is making changes to several of its policies in the wake of a New York Times piece criticizing the way it handles race.
The October article found that, in Greensboro, black drivers were proportionally far more likely to be pulled over than white drivers. It also says they were also more likely to be searched, and more likely to have force used against them, even if the driver did not resist the officer.
Now the department says it’s taking action. On Tuesday, Chief Wayne Scott issued an order suspending traffic stops for so-called “vehicle equipment infractions,” which are among the main reasons police stop drivers.
“These types of stops are clearly an area of concern,” Scott said in a statement. “On its face, the data shows that racial disparities in traffic stops do exist. However, the numbers alone cannot possibly tell us the reasons for these differences.”
He goes on to say the department is looking to engage with residents in more meaningful ways than the stops provide.
That means, for now, Greensboro officers won’t pull people over for small things like a broken tail light.
Scott also says the force is focusing more on neighborhood policing. He says the combination of fewer stops and more cops out on the beat are good first steps in connecting the police with residents.
The department says it’s ordered some academic evaluation of its own data in an effort to better understand the root causes of reported racial disparities.
Glidewell To Run For NC Sixth District Seat
A second Democrat has joined the ranks of those who are opposing freshman Congressman Mark Walker in the 2016 election. Pete Glidewell launched his campaign Wednesday for North Carolina’s Sixth District.
Glidewell announced his candidacy on Veterans Day in front of the Burlington Veterans Memorial. According to the News & Observer, he’s a textile sales executive who recently served as chairman of the Alamance County Democratic Party.
Glidewell joins former Guilford County Commissioner Bruce Davis in the race. Davis fell short in the 2014 Democratic primary for the seat to Laura Fjeld.
Walker is seeking a second term in the Sixth District, which includes parts of Greensboro and six counties along the Virginia border. He already has two announced Republican primary opponents, Greensboro attorney and Air Force veteran Kenn Kopf and Guilford County police officer and Coast Guard veteran Chris Hardin.
Appeals Court Declines To Hear Ruling In Asheville Water
The N.C. Court of Appeals has declined to reconsider its decision which said the General Assembly had constitutional power to transfer control of Asheville's water system to a regional sewer district.
The Asheville Citizen-Times reports that an attorney representing the city requested a rehearing Monday. The appeals court turned it down on Tuesday without explanation.
City officials have 15 days after the Court of Appeals action on Tuesday to ask the Supreme Court to review the Oct. 6 decision, a step City Council has already agreed to take.
In the unanimous decision, the three-judge panel sided with Republican state lawmakers who pushed the 2013 forced transfer to the Metropolitan Sewerage District of Buncombe County. The court reversed a Wake County judge's 2014 ruling that favored Asheville and blocked the move.
6 To Receive North Carolina's Highest Civilian Honor
Six people will receive North Carolina's highest civilian honor in a ceremony in Durham.
Gov. Pat McCrory will give the North Carolina Award on Thursday evening to citizens being recognized for literature, science, public service and fine arts. The recipients are: Anthony Abbott of Davidson, Dr. Anthony Atala of Winston-Salem, former Sen. Jim Broyhill of Winston-Salem, former Chapel Hill and state Board of Education Chairman Howard Lee, Everette James Jr. of Chapel Hill and Patricia McBride of Charlotte.
The General Assembly established the awards in the 1961, and the first medals were given in 1964. Since then, more than 250 men and women have been honored.
The ceremony will be held at the Sheraton Imperial Hotel and Convention Center.
Charlotte Nature Museum To Plan $28M Expansion, Renovation
The Charlotte Nature Museum is planning a $28 million expansion and renovation.
The Charlotte Observer reports museum leaders presented their plans Tuesday to Mecklenburg County commissioners to seek their advice and feedback.
Discovery Place President Catherine Wilson Horne says the county gives the museum $28,000 a year for operations, facility improvements and renovations, and owns the land and building the museum occupies.
The museum hasn't started raising money. Construction of a new nature museum would start in 2018 with a grand opening in 2020.
Horne says plans call for the new center to bolster its displays with more animals from the Piedmont region. The expansion also would incorporate technology in exhibits that explore the climate and open new classrooms.
Horne says nearly 10,000 schoolchildren visited the museum this year.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.