Image from RPD bodycam video of Darryl Williams arrest

Dawn Blagrove is an attorney and activist who worked for close to a decade on behalf of incarcerated people at NC Prisoner Legal Services. She now serves as Executive Director of Emancipate NC, a community organization that works to dismantle structural racism and mass incarceration across the state. Emancipate NC’s focus areas include bail reform, ending youth confinement, police reform, and restorative justice.

At the February 7, 2023 City Council meeting Ms. Blagrove delivered these public comments:

Demand RPD immediately discontinue all use of taser weapons until they can prove definitively to the community that they are committed to following their own policies regarding the use of taser weapons.

Darryl Williams is dead because RPD failed to follow its own written policies for justification and use of non-deadly force. Based on a thorough reading of Section 1108 Police Practices located in the Raleigh Police Departments Written Directive and a reading of the 5 day narrative issued by RPD, at least 16 policies were violated during the murder of Daryl Williams. While time does not permit me to go through all of the identified violations, I offer a standing invitation to further discuss the granular details of RPD’s failure offline.

Tasers are only non lethal weapons when used according to written policy and procedures. Flagrant disregard of them transforms  non lethal weapons into instruments of death.  The citizens of Raleigh cannot and will not continue to absorb the cost of the city’s dereliction of the duty to mitigate harm. To that end, because of the human and fiscal liability that RPD officers create with the use of tasers, we demand that City Council protect the people and the city by temporarily banning the use of tasers by RPD until it is confident that the people or the city will not have to suffer from irresponsible and dangerous lack of oversight and accountability for RPD.

An out of control police department with no accountability or functioning leadership creates a real and present danger to Black and brown people in southeast Raleigh, which should make this demand mandatory. You were elected to run the city in a way that is ethically and fiscally responsible. Allowing RPD to run roughshod over an entire community, with impunity, satisfies neither of the aforementioned responsibilities.

Do better.  Serve the people. Temporarily ban the use of tasers by RPD.

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