Justice and Policy Studies Professor Hollyce “Sherry” Giles spoke at the Aug. 18 Greensboro City Council meeting, sharing highlights from a research project on police accountability that she and her students conducted in spring 2014 in partnership with the Beloved Community Center of Greensboro.
The study, “We the People? East and South Greensboro Residents’ Perceptions of their Right to Hold the Police Accountable,” found that 58 percent of residents in these areas were unclear about their right to hold police accountable or afraid to try to exercise the right they may or may not have.
Sherry shared this statistic, along with some quotes from participants’ interviews, observing that there was a lack of public trust in city leaders among residents in these communities to ensure a fair and transparent process for holding police accountable. She urged council members to clarify the authority they and the city manager hold to take steps to make sure there are professional and, when appropriate, legal consequences for officers’ excessive use of force and other unlawful behaviors.
Mayor Nancy Vaughan and Mayor Pro Tem Yvonne Johnson engaged City Manager Jim Westmoreland in a discussion about the issue, which likely will be on the council’s agenda in the coming months.
Student researchers for the project from JPS 339 Research Methods were Steve Armstrong, Tonya Becton, Julia Beveridge, Hannah Comins, Niki Gaines, Theresa Gregory, Colin Miller, Sara Minsky, Abigail Murray-Nikkel, Paige Price, Alex Russell, Juliette Terry, Darien Walker and Monica Williams.