North Carolina General Assembly approves police reform bill

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The North Carolina General Assembly has approved an extensive police reform bill, making resisting arrest while causing serious injury to an officer a felony and increasing police oversight.

The Senate gave Senate Bill 300 final approval Tuesday, 42-0. The bill was a compromise measure between Democrats and Republicans in the Senate. It cleared the Senate without debate Tuesday.

Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper and House Speaker Tim Moore, R-Cleveland, launched task forces to develop law enforcement and criminal justice reforms last year after national civil unrest in response to police killing of Black Americans.

Senate Bill 300 requires new mental health and wellness training, psychological screenings and FBI criminal background checks for law enforcement officers. It creates an “early warning” system to track and document use-of-force incidents. Officials would be required to create a public database of officers facing suspensions and revocations.

If SB 300 becomes law, immediate family members would be able to see video footage within three business days after a serious police incident that results in death or serious injury after a request to the courts.

Lawmakers pushed for the change after the case of Andrew Brown Jr., a Black man killed in April by Pasquotank County deputies. Officials stalled the release of the body-camera footage, amplifying outrage over the incident.

The House had approved SB 300, 100-2. It now heads to Gov. Roy Cooper for approval.

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