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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — North Carolina NAACP President Rev. William Barber says he believes street justice is overtaking courtroom justice in Wilmington. Now the civil rights group is calling for change.

During a news conference today, Barber called for the state to investigate recent officer-involved shootings in New Hanover County that killed three people. This morning he took his concerns to local leaders.

Barber came to the port city tuesday to deliver a letter calling for immediate action regarding what he calls “excessive force” by officers.

“The NAACP is concerned with the pattern of street justice rather than courthouse justice that emerges from the study of these four cases,” Barber said.

District Attorney Ben David says there is a problem with street justice in Wilmington, but in a different way.

“In the sense that there are young men shooting and killing each other and then failing to report it when we are asking them the questions on who is doing it. They are engaging in what we call stop snitching culture,” David said. “I don’t believe that is happing with the police taking the law into their own hands.”

Barber specifically mentioned the shooting death of Brandon Smith, who was wanted for shooting a deputy. The SBI’s investigation into the October shooting by two New Hanover County Sheriff’s deputies and an ATF agent led the District Attorney to decide the shooting was justified and no criminal charges should be filed.

Barber did not want to answer specific questions about each case or the months of gang violence that have plagued Wilmington. He did say the NAACP is concerned officers are becoming “judge, jury and executioner.”

“We appreciate the NAACP’s interest and concern of the recent officer involved shootings involving multiple agencies in the region in response to increased gang violence,” Wilmington Police Chief Ralph Evangelous said in a statement. “We will continue to use every available resource to provide transparency, truthfulness and quality investigations for the Wilmington Police Department and the citizens of Wilmington.

“We welcome the opportunity to speak with the NAACP and those interested in the wellbeing of our community. We further solicit their support and input on reducing the black-on-black crime in our community that has led to the incarceration and victimization of a growing number of citizens in the City of Wilmington.”

New Hanover County Sheriff Ed McMahon also said in a statement, “I have always requested that the SBI investigate any officer-involved shooting. Chief Evangelous and I are committed to share resources and work together to provide a safer community.”

The NAACP wants the public release of police reports regarding these incidents. They also want an independent citizens’ police review board, as well as a meeting with the DA, mayor and police chief to talk about some of the organization’s concerns.

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114 Comments on "NAACP calls for investigation into ‘excessive force by police’ in New Hanover Co."

Another one
2015 years 8 months ago

The organization’s main focus is – as they themselves say it – “people of african descent”

If you look at pictures of their events on their page, there are not a whole lot of people other than those likely of african descent.

Then, they have events involving awards that specifically exclude other races.

All in all, with their current rant, the NAACP are targeting the wrong people. The police are not targeting any specific race. They are targeting people who have committed crimes against other people – pure and simple. The NAACP should look at helping prevent these situations from happening.

Fire the DA's
2015 years 8 months ago

Justamatteroftime…..that’s a bumper sticker there.

If the NAACP people took as much effort into helping the black communities instead of trying to destroy the white communities their lifes would be so much better! The life of a black man or woman is only worth something to the NCAAP if they are killed or hurt by the “white man”

2015 years 8 months ago

Sorry GuestMan….That’s not how I roll. But your conclusions are exactly what media and people who choose not to deal with the real issue would echo. You see, I’m tired of always being blamed for something I’ve never done. It’s old now. It was old 20 years ago. I believe we need to march to let folks know it’s not okay to use the same old trashy excuses anymore. It’s about personal responsibility. Mine and theirs.

2015 years 8 months ago

You’re right, and both groups are wrong.

2015 years 8 months ago

The naacp has stayed out of this since all the combatants are black and the gang war would be an all black problem if normal innocent people didn’t get hurt from the gang’s spray and pray style of shooting. If it wasn’t for that, I would say let the cops back off and refuse to answer those calls until they finish each other off. I’m sure the naacp will step in between the warring factions and sing “we shall overcome”.


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