CHERI L. BEASLEY
FORMER NC CHIEF JUSTICE
CHERI ANNOUNCES 2022
RUN FOR U.S. SENATE
By Cash Michaels
U.S. Senate candidate Cheri Lynn Beasley says she’s “deeply concerned” about Republican voter suppression efforts across the nation.
“It is so important that people can vote, and can have access to voting,…and to think otherwise is unAmerican.”
“ We need uniformed voting rights across this nation,…and all of us must be committed to that now. And that’s what I would fight for in Washington.”
After months of speculation, former NC Supreme Court Chief Justice Cheri Beasley formally announced her candidacy in the 2022 U.S. Senate race for the seat currently held by Republican incumbent Richard Burr, who is leaving office at the end of his third, and current term.
Beasley, a Democrat, made her announcement via a produced video titled “No Closed Doors” on social media Tuesday morning, followed by brief interviews with the press.
The history-maker joins a crowded field of both Democrats and Republicans, which includes former state Sen. Erica Smith, state Sen. Jeff Jackson, Beaufort Mayor Rett Newton an virologist Richard Watkins on the Democratic side, and former NC Gov. Pat McCrory, former U.S. Congressman Mark Walker and Jen Banwart.
Lara Trump, former Pres. Donald Trump’s daughter-in-law, is said to be considering a run on the Republican side.
If elected in November 2022, Beasley, 55, would make history again becoming the first African-American, and African-American female from North Carolina to be elected to the U.S. Senate.
She already enjoys the distinction of serving as the first African-American female chief justice of the N.C. Supreme Court after Gov. Roy Cooper appointed her in Feb. 2019. Beasley lost a razor sharp statewide race to retain her seat last year by just 401 votes.
Shortly after losing that race, Beasley became a partner in the Raleigh law firm of McGuireWoods.
Hers is a story of inspiration and accomplishment.
Born in Tennessee in 1966, Cheri Lynn Beasley, the daughter of William James Beasley and Dr. Lou Beasley, earned her B.A. degree in Political Science and Economics from Rutgers University/Douglass College in 1988. She also earned six credits at the Summer Program in Law at the University of Tennessee College of Law in 1991.
In 1993, she served as a Volunteer Attorney in Fayetteville, and from 1994 - 1999, as an assistant public defender in the 12th Judicial District (Cumberland County).
In 1995, Beasley also served as a Business Law instructor at Fayetteville Technical Community College.
In 1999, Gov. Jim Hunt appointed Atty. Cheri Beasley to be a District Court Judge in the 12th Judicial District. She was elected to that seat in 2002, and then reelected in 2006.
In 2008, Judge Beasley was elected to the NC Court of Appeals.
In December 2012, Gov. Beverly Perdue appointed Judge Beasley to the state Supreme Court to finish the unexpired term of Justice Patricia Timmons - Goodson. Beasley was elected to a full-term in November 2014.
It was Feb. 2019 who Gov. Roy Cooper appointed Associate Justice Cheri Beasley to become the Chief Justice of the NC Supreme Court. She lost in her bid to be elected to the post in a stunningly close election with Associate Justice Paul Newby in Nov. 2020.
Now a candidate for the U.S. Senate, Beasley called for “equity in voting rights in North Carolina and across this country,” as well as good jobs, and making sure that people are treated fairly.
“People want a good advocate to fight for them in Washington, and folks want to be able to take care of their families.”
“I’m so thankful for the opportunity to offer myself to be able to fight for the people of North Carolina in Washington,” she says.
Cheri Beasley is married to Curtis Owens. They are the parents of twin sons, and are members of First Baptist Church in Raleigh.
OP-ED - THE DEREK CHAUVIN VERDICT AND WHAT IT MEANS
by Prof. Irving Joyner, NCCU School of Law
For communities around the country and particularly for African Americans and people of color, the conviction of Derek Chauvin was a time to exhale. These reaffirming convictions represent another step toward restoring faith in our people that police officers can be held accountable for the abuse of their police powers. The promise to the community and expectation that police officers will protect and serve its citizens is based on faith that those who are employed in those positions will always act in the best interest of the people. Particularly in African American communities, that faith has been eroded by past “lack-luster” efforts to hold police accountable for their misconduct and has created an “us’ versus “them” relationship.
Yet, it must be remembered that these convictions are narrowly focused on this trial, this evidence, this set of facts and an outstanding prosecution which was enabled by more video tapes than has ever been presented in any trial in history. Those factors have not existed in past cases and probably will not be duplicated in future cases.
Standing alone, the volume of video presented in the Floyd/Chauvin trial made everyone, who saw them, an on-site eye witness to this murder. This video was replayed so often before and during the trial that it was impossible to erase those images from the jurors’ minds and the minds of any of us who saw them. That level of video will not be present in most instances of police misconduct in the future.
The video also enhanced the testimony of the original eyewitnesses who were able to review their observations repeatedly and, as a result, did not have to recall their observations from raw, but fading, memory. In addition, the video aided the several expert witnesses who were able to provide a more thorough evaluation and analysis because of what they were able to actually observe. Typically, this ability to observe these facts which occurred on the ground are not available for expert observations and analysis.
So, while we celebrate these guilty verdicts, we must be cautious moving forward. We can emphasize the power and necessity of eye-witnesses to these incidents to use their cell phone to record future incidents and to promote the expansion of the use of body cameras by officers. At the same time, we must not abandon the need to aggressively push for reforms in the policing process, to educate our people about their rights and how to avoid adverse confrontations with police officers and to elect people to office who will guarantee that police officers are held accountable for their misconduct..
FLOYD CASE REVERBERATES
HERE IN NORTH CAROLINA
By Cash Michaels
It’s been over a week since a Minnesota jury convicted former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin of murdering Fayetteville native George Floyd, but the reverberations continue to be felt even here in North Carolina.
While both the sister of Floyd, and the brother of the prosecutor who pursued Floyd’s cop murderer - both North Carolinians - react to the conviction, citizens across the state continue to express outrage in the aftermath of the controversial police killing of Andrew Brown in Elizabeth City a day after the Chauvin conviction, casting a cloud over whatever hope many had that the Floyd verdict would be a turning point in police abuse of Black people.
“Justice would be for Derek [Chauvin] to get the maximum sentence for each charge,” Bridgett Floyd, sister of George Floyd, told CNN’s Anderson Cooper last week from Fayetteville. Chauvin, found guilty of second-degree unintentional murder (maximum 40 years in prison); guilty of third-degree murder (maximum 25 years) and second-degree manslaughter (maximum 10 years). Observers note that under Minnesota’s sentencing guidelines, the convicted police officer could get far less time behind bars from the judge when he is sentenced June 16th, but there are aggravating circumstances to when Chauvin maintained his knee on George Floyd’s neck for nine minutes and twenty-nine seconds, and those factors can push his sentence towards the maximum.
“I do believe my brother(’s death) has made an impact on the world going forward,” Bridgett Floyd added.
Winston-Salem criminal defense attorney Eric Ellison is proud of his older brother, Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison, a former U.S. congressman who took the prosecution of Derek Chavin and the three other officers involved in George Floyd’s death out of the hands of the local Minneapolis district attorney, and successfully led his team to one of the rare times in American history that a police officer was convicted for the murder of an African-American citizen.
Ellison told CBS’ “60 Minutes” Sunday that he wasn’t sure his team would win the case, but Eric Ellison says he had faith that his brother could find justice for the Floyd family.
“When we let these local prosecutors prosecute these police officers who they work with, have meetings with and have relationships with everyday, justice gets skewed because this officers are their friends’’ Eric Ellison, the former chair of the Forsyth County Democratic Party said, making clear that he was “very proud” of his brother.
“And that’s one of the reasons why justice has been so many times in these type of situations. So, we can learn a lesson from this that you have to take the power out of the local prosecutor’s hands. They cannot be unbiased and objective in these type of situations. They cannot…it’s impossible.”
Eric Ellison went to suggest that laws be passed that require either state attorneys general or federal prosecutors take on police brutality cases. Ellison added that the successful Chauvin conviction could be just the “stimulus” needed for further police reform across the country.
He said he did not know whether his brother would prosecute the police officer charged with second-degree manslaughter in the April 11th traffic stop slaying of 20-year-old Daunte Wright, but Ellison added that he would not be surprised if he did.
Meanwhile, as North Carolina and the nation contemplate what will happen next in the Chauvin case and Daunte Wright fatal police shooting, all eyes are on Columbus, Ohio in the police shooting death of 16 year-old
Ma’Khia Bryant, which happened just before the Chauvin trial verdict was reached, and the April 21st police shooting death of Andrew Brown, Jr. in Elizabeth City .
Brown was allegedly shot in the back as he drove away from several law enforcement officers serving an arrest warrant on him. He reportedly did not have a gun. As a result, three Pasquotank County Sheriff’s deputies have resigned from the force, and seven other officers involved in the shooting have been relieved of duty. Peaceful demonstrations have taken place each day as citizens, local officials, and even the mayor and Gov. Cooper, called for release of body cam video to reveal what exactly happen.
Brown’s family and attorney saw 20 seconds of the video Monday, calling what they saw an “execution,” and that Brown had both hands on the steering wheel of his vehicle at all times while officers around him fired their weapons.
Brown’s vehicle hit a tree, where he was pronounced dead at the scene.
An autopsy commissioned by the family on the body of Andrew Brown, Jr. revealed that he was hit five times by police bullets - four Tims in the right arm, and one shot to the base of his skull, what family attorney Ben Crump calls “the kill shot.”
Elizabeth City has a declared a state of emergency in anticipation of unrest in the aftermath of the video’s release.
Tuesday afternoon. Gov. Roy Cooper called for a special prosecutor to probe the Andrew Brown Jr. police killing, saying that “This would help assure the community and Mr. Brown’s family that a decision on pursuing criminal charges is conducting without bias.”
Meanwhile the FBI announced that it was launching a civil rights investigation into the Brown shooting, and civil rights leaders Rev. William Barber and NCNAACP Pres. Rev T. Anthony Spearman called for state Attorney Gen. Josh Stein to take over the case from the local district attorney, whom he called, “inept, incompetent and incapable.
Under state law, the local D.A. must ask the state attorney general and SBI to come in.
On Wednesday, a Superior Court judge ruled a son of Andrew Brown, Jr. could receive edited bodycam video of the police shooting within ten days, but the media would have to wait 30-45 days until authorities completed their investigation.
During Wednesday’s hearing, Pasquotank District Attorney Andrew Womble alleged that Andrew Brown Jr. hit at least one sheriff’s deputy with his vehicle in trying to make his getaway. One of the family’s attorneys disputed that she saw that happen during the 20 seconds of video that she was shown on Monday.
It was also established that there are at least five police body cam videos of the incident.
LT. GOV. ROBINSON
By Cash Michaels
When controversial Black Republican NC Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson testified before the Congressional Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights an Civil Liberties on Thursday, April 22, from his opening statement, he could not pass up alleging that Democrats were dishonest and no good.
“Just a few days ago, the Vice President [Kamala Harris]…went to the Woolworth counter in Greensboro,” Robinson told the panel. “Do you know who wasn’t there? Do you know who wasn’t invited? My good friend Clarence Henderson, who was a civil rights icon. He sat at that counter, and endured suffering and pain to make sure that Black voices were heard. And why was he left out? Because he is of a different political persuasion.”
First of all, by all accounts, Vice Pres. Harris’ visit to the historic 1960 Woolworth lunch counter held in the International Civil Rights Museum in downtown Greensboro on Monday, April 19th was not an official part of her visit to the Triad, but rather an impromptu visit, so the only people with her were those part of the welcoming committee, namely Melvin “Skip” Alston, chair of the Guilford County Board of Commissioners and co-founder of the civil rights museum, and Rev. Dr. T. Anthony Spearman, president of the NC NAACP and old friend of VP Harris.
Clarence Henderson is a conservative Black Republican who sat at the infamous Woolworth counter on Feb. 2, 1960, one full day after Ezell Blair Jr. (who now goes by Jibreel Khazan), Joseph McNeil, Franklin McCain and David Richmond - the four Black students from N.C. A&T University - sat there on Feb. 1st, 1960, to protest racial segregation then.
Henderson also touts that he did not vote for Barack Obama for president even though Lt. Gov. Robinson holds Obama’s historic election as the first Black president as one of the reasons why he is “proud” that Black people have accomplished much despite the systematic racism he says is now a thing of the past.
Which is why Robinson says he’s a strong advocate for voter ID.
“Today, we hear Georgia law being compared to Jim Crow, that Black voices are being silenced, and Black voices are being kept out,” Robinson alleged to “the Congressional subcommittee from prepared notes.
“How?…by requiring free ID to secure the vote….who absolutely preposterous. Am I to believe that Black Americans who have overcome the atrocities of slavery….cannot figure out how to get a free ID to secure their votes? That they need to be coddled by politicians because they believe we can’t figure out ho to make our voices heard. Are you kidding me?”
The lt. governor went to say that the notion that Black people “…must be protected from a free ID to secure their votes is not only insane, it is insulting.”
Lt. Gov. Robinson’s portrayal of “free ID” as something African-Americans should embrace as positive is nothing new, but the facts aren’t on his side.
Outside of Republican protestations that voter ID should be required to prevent against massive voter fraud, none has ever been manifested per in-person voting. Especially after the Nov. 2020 presidential elections when then Pres. Donald Trump and the Republican Party charged that he lost re-election because of unfounded voter fraud.
Studies show that low-income voting-age Americans are least likely to have legal, government-issued voter identification, even if it’s free, because many don’t have the documents required to secure them, like birth certificates for elderly Black citizens.
Per the federal courts, Republicans in North Carolina knew this when they passed voter ID legislation in 2013. Federal courts cited Republicans with targeting African-Americans “with surgical precision” when it came to voter suppression laws like photo ID requirements.
Also, in recent years, Republicans have admitted that they seek to shrink the number of people voting in order to guarantee their elections. That is part of the Georgia Republican voting legislation strategy after losing two U.S. Senate seats to Democrats, and the state to Pres. Joe Biden. That is all why over 40 other states are considering voter suppression legislation in the aftermath of the Nov. 2020 election, officially called “election integrity laws.”
Here in North Carolina, a trial continues in state court regarding the 2018 voter ID law is constitutional because, again, it is alleged, it seeks to disenfranchise Black and other voters of color who normal would not vote to elect Republicans.
STATE NEWS BRIEFS
NEW PUSH IN LEGISLATURE TO RELEASE BODYCAM VIDEO FASTER
[RALEIGH] In the wake of the Andrew Brown Jr. fall police shooting in Elizabeth City last week, and his family’s frustration that non3 of the police bodycam video has been released, a bill to have future police videos released within 48 hours is gaining steam in the state legislature. Currently, thanks to a 2016 law, bodycam video cannot be released without approval of a judge. But, as the Brown situation currently shows, that could take days or weeks, limiting law enforcement transparency. At press time, Republicans were against changing the law.
APPLE TO BUILD $1 BILLION CAMPUS IN RTP
[DURHAM] Apple, manufacturer of the iPhone an Mac computers, announced earlier this week that it will build a new billion dollar campus in the Research Triangle Park over the next five years. The move will bring thousands of high-paying technical jobs to North Carolina. In addition, Apple promises to invest $100 million to support schools and community initiatives, and $110 million to improve infrastructure in 80 counties. Political leaders welcomed the news, saying that it will attract new talent from across the nation and the world to North Carolina.
NORTH CAROLINA GAINS ONE CONGRESSIONAL SEAT IN 2020 CENSUS
[GREENSBORO] The results of the 2020 Census were released earlier this week, and North Carolina gained a new congressional seat, based on population growth since the 2010 Census. The 2020 Census recorded a 10, 439, 388 population, a 9.5 percent increase from 2010.
The increase will give North Carolina a 14th congressional seat. Five other states also gained congressional seats due to population growth - Texas, Colorado, Florida, Montana and Oregon. Texas gained two, the rest just one.