The City Council once again discussed “8 Can’t Wait” at the virtual work session on Tuesday, Sept. 15.
The City Council discussed plans to pass a resolution in support of 8 Can’t Wait at its work session on July 23 and it was announced that the 8 Can’t Wait resolution would be on the agenda for the July 2 meeting.
Mayor Nancy Vaughan said a resolution was being prepared based on the resolutions passed by Memphis, Tennessee.
The resolution was not on the agenda for the July 2 meeting, but evidently it was not forgotten.
The item that was added to the Tuesday, Sept. 15 work session agenda at the last minute was “Use of Force Reduction Policy Discussion.”
Assistant City Manager Trey Davis said he wanted to talk about some of the changes in policy that Police Chief Brian James had implemented since taking office on Feb. 1.
Davis noted that on Feb. 10 a new policy banned officers from shooting at a moving vehicle and that since then policies had been put in place for officers to use the minimum amount of force necessary, banning choke holds, and a policy requiring officers to intervene both verbally and physically if they witness another officer using excessive force.
Davis said that another change was that officers were required to verbally issue a warning if possible before the use of deadly force including using a Taser, pepper spray or the release of a canine.
Davis said that these policies were “in line with national best practices.”
Councilmember Michelle Kennedy asked how these policies would be enforced and what the Police Department was doing to be more transparent.
Davis said that the Police Department was working on a website dashboard that would have information about use of force posted on a regular basis.
Councilmember Justin Outling brought up 8 Can’t Wait and the fact that it establishes a continuum of force.
Davis that current best practices are not to move from one weapon to the next but for officers “to use the minimum option that is available to them.”
Councilmember Sharon Hightower asked which one was stronger, 8 Can’t Wait or the GPD policies.
Outling said that as far as 8 Can’t Wait, it sounded like, “Ultimately, we’re saying we think that the existing policy is better.”
Vaughan said that she had asked for a resolution on police policy changes so people could see what the police department had actually done.
Greensboro City Manager David Parrish said that the City Council would be provided with the full policies adopted by the Greensboro Police Department noting the distinctions between those policies and 8 Can’t Wait.