(Homeless Union of GSO Updates) Help Get a Written Consent Policy Passed – Join us on Feb. 20th!

Hey all,

Please forgive the two Emails – The last email sent cut off the wonderful
info graphic about written consent, So we are resending it!
*Join us *
At the Greensboro Criminal Justice Advisory Commission
Meeting on Feb. 20th at 6 PM
At the Central Library
219 Church Street
And show your support for a fair Written Consent policy
[image: INFOGRAPHIC.png]

*Greensboro residents deserve to know their rights when they are stopped by
> the police*
> *We deserve a written informed-consent policy for police searches*
> [image: image.png]
> *Join us *
> At the Greensboro Criminal Justice Advisory Commission
> Meeting on Feb. 20th at 6 PM
> At the Central Library
> 219 Church Street
> And show your support for a fair Written Consent policy
> Dear Friends and Supporters,
> When the Homeless Union of Greensboro, and academics from UNCG and
> Guilford College published *A Safe Place to Stay: Combating Homelessness,
> Police Violence and Jim Crow in Greensboro
> <www.homelessunion.org/a-safe-place-to-stay> *in November, 2019,
> we documented through survey results and public records data how police in
> Greensboro target, harass, cite and arrest people experiencing homelessness
> and residents who are black at a disproportionate rate.
> – 44% of survey respondents reported being profiled for their race
> – and 43% reported being profiled for “appearing to be homeless”
> – These perceptions were backed up by data from the Greensboro Police
> Department that show that officers disproportionately arrest and cite
> individuals who are Black and homeless for quality of life offenses.
> In *A Safe Place to Stay, *we included a 10 Point Platform
> <7c953af5-666b-41d7-90cc-d0c27cc5fad9.filesusr.com/ugd/03c5ff_35a5ac7f69024c9bbe9bf6ceb6ffa666.pdf>and
> listed numerous policy proposals that we believe would improve conditions
> for people experiencing homelessness, and protect our rights. Among those
> policy proposals was a *Written Consent Policy* which protects residents *4th
> amendment rights* to privacy.
> Written Consent policies, in simple terms, require police to obtain *documented
> proof of consent *before engaging in searches if they do not have
> probable cause (i.e. proof of contraband) by instructing officers to give
> residents a form which explains their rights before engaging in
> consent-searches.
> *Written Consent policies have been passed in Durham, NC and other cities
> across the state. *In the communities which have adopted these policies,
> racial disparities in policing and searches have been reduced, and far
> fewer people are arrested for low-level victim-less crimes, such as
> possession of small amounts of marijuana.
> [image: image.png]
> Durham’s Written Consent Form: In Durham, NC, Police must get a signed
> consent form in order to engage in consent searches of residents. These
> forms inform residents of their rights – including the right to deny a
> consent search – and the requirement to use written consent forms in
> Durham, NC, has decreased racial disparities in traffic searches
> dramatically.
> Greensboro got a new chief of police on February 1st, 2020. We believe
> that Greensboro has a great opportunity to see substantive change in regard
> to policing in Greensboro under new leadership. But Chief James cannot
> transform Greensboro’s police department alone – the community must show up
> and show support for policy changes such as adopting a written consent
> policy.
> For the past several months, residents of Greensboro have been meeting and
> discussing and re-imagining what safety could look like in Greensboro. The
> group, known as *Greensboro Neighbors for Safety, Justice and Wellbeing
> for All *has chosen to support a written consent policy because it
> protects citizens rights has been proven to work in multiple other cities
> in North Carolina to reduce disparities and create more fairness in police
> searches. Below, we’ve copied a notice they put out, asking people to get
> involved and support a Written Consent Policy for police searches in
> Greensboro.
> *This coming Thursday – Feb. 20th, at 6:00 PM – *The Greensboro Criminal
> Justice Advisory Commission will be meeting at the Greensboro Central
> Library – 219 N. Church Street – and they will accept comments from the
> public regarding policies, and we are asking that people show up to speak
> about the need for a written consent policy. Please Join us.
> *Statement from Greensboro Neighbors for Safety, Justice and Wellbeing for
> All *
> Good evening!
> We’re so glad that so many of you signed our petition last year to get a
> police chief who would lead with an eye towards more just policing or
> attended our teach in on MLK weekend! We are organizing around some of the
> policies we highlighted, and it’s clear that it will take the community
> pushing for good governance to get them enacted. The first one we’re
> working on is Written Consent.
> *We are writing to ask you to please come out on Thursday, February 20th,
> at 6:00 PM to the Greensboro Criminal Justice Advisory Commission at the
> Central Library’s Tannenbaum-Sternberger Room *to thank the commission
> for recommending that the City of Greensboro adopt a Written Consent
> policy, and to advocate for City Council adopting this policy.
> *What is Written Consent? *A written consent policy requires police to
> get your signature, on a paper that informs you that there are no negative
> repercussions for you saying no to a consent search, before they search
> you. (A consent search is when the police have to get your permission to
> search you, because they do not have probable cause.)
> *How is that different from what we have now? *Currently, Greensboro has
> a policy on the books that allows police officers to either get consent to
> search you verbally (while a bodycam records the interaction), or with your
> signature. This is insufficient, and allows for a lot of ambiguity.
> Requiring a signature on a form that makes sure you know what your rights
> are is an important part of making sure consent is affirmative, and that
> people are not coerced into allowing a search.
> *Why do we need the policy?*
> Because currently 82% (or 4 out of 5) of people searched by police in
> Greensboro are Black, and we only make up 41% of the population. Cities
> that have adopted policies that require written consent have seen racial
> disparities in consent searches decrease dramatically. (Durham’s went down
> from around 500 to around 50 in a year, after they passed theirs.)
> Since 82% of people searched are Black, and 57% pulled over are Black, we
> are not only more likely to be stopped, but that once we are stopped, we
> are much more likely to be searched. Over a 20 year period, there is
> virtually no difference between the amount of contraband found on Black and
> white people who are searched (with white people actually having slightly
> more contraband found on them), and in 2019 although Black people had
> contraband more often, the difference is much smaller than the disparity in
> searches, and does not justify that disparity.
> *Isn’t a new police chief enough to make the racial disparities go away?*
> No. While we are glad to see new leadership in the police department, a
> shift in who is in office by itself is not enough to address these
> disparities, which have persisted over the tenures of several police
> chiefs. Without a concrete change in the form of an ordinance from City
> Council, Greensboro will not have this protection as a permanent fixture,
> regardless of who is in the position of Chief. This is not a minor
> administrative shift, but an issue of governance that impacts racial equity
> in tangible ways.
> *Also: We will have a presentation on deprioritizing marijuana, *which is
> indistinguishable from Hemp/ CBD products without testing. Since officers
> can’t determine one from the other without testing, and one is legal, the
> State Bureau of Investigation said it’s impossible for them to get probable
> cause to search people for it. *In Greensboro, 82% of people charged for
> marijuana possession are Black, and only 16% are white, making it mostly
> legal for white people in the city. *
> Invite your friends and come stand with us. If you’d like to get more
> involved, respond to this email & we’ll get in touch!
> [image: image.png]
> Sincerely,
> Casey Thomas
> – Greensboro Neighbors for Safety, Justice and Wellbeing for All
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