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Public safety boss orders use of force review

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RALEIGH ­— As many across the nation and in North Carolina express horror at George Floyd’s death at the hands of a Minneapolis police officer, N.C. Public Safety Secretary Erik A. Hooks says it’s an appropriate time to take a closer look at state law enforcement agencies’ policies regarding use of force, the duty to intervene and report instances of excessive force.

In a memo issued June 15, the secretary directed his law enforcement leaders to review their existing policies on use of force, de-escalation techniques, arrest procedures, cultural sensitivity training and the investigative process.

“While neither you nor I can undo this tragic event, we can learn from this incident and implement positive, meaningful processes and policies to ensure the officers under our charge are effectively trained to consistently perform their duties in a manner that is both professional and respectful of human life and dignity,” Hooks states in his memo.

The secretary also wants to ensure each division has a clear policy articulating a duty to intervene and report any case where an officer may be a witness to what he or she knows to be excessive force or other abuse of a suspect or arrestee.