Special to Iredell Free News
RALEIGH — Gov. Roy Cooper on Thursday announced the members of the North Carolina Task Force for Racial Equity in Criminal Justice, co-chaired by Justice Anita Earls and Attorney General Josh Stein.
“I am grateful to the people willing to serve on this task force to help our state acknowledge racial inequities in our systems of law enforcement and criminal justice, and then work to eliminate them,” Cooper said.
“This Task Force is a critical step in acknowledging and addressing racial inequities in North Carolina’s criminal justice system. The Task Force will rely on community involvement, and I look forward to engaging with communities around the state to determine recommendations for addressing systemic racial bias,” said Earls, who serves on the Supreme Court of North Carolina.
“The North Carolinians Gov. Cooper has appointed to this Task Force are public-spirited and committed to achieving racial equity in our criminal justice system. I look forward to working alongside them to find real and meaningful solutions to improve the way Black people are treated in North Carolina. Now it’s time to get to work,” Stein added.
The following individuals were appointed by Gov. Cooper to the North Carolina Task Force for Racial Equity in Criminal Justice:
♦ Anita Earls of Durham as co-chair and as a North Carolina Judicial Branch representative. Earls is an associate justice of the Supreme Court. She founded and is the past executive director of the Southern Coalition of Social Justice where she litigated civil rights and voting rights cases. Previously, Earls served as deputy assistant attorney general for Civil Rights at the U.S. Department of Justice in the Clinton administration. Earls has also served on the Equal Access to Justice Commission and the N.C. Board of Elections.
♦ Josh Stein of Raleigh as co-chair and as a North Carolina Department of Justice Representative. Stein is the Attorney General of North Carolina and served in the State Senate between 2009 and 2016. He previously served as senior deputy attorney general for consumer protection in the NC Department of Justice where he worked to ensure that big corporations played by the rules and treated people fairly.
♦ Tarrah Callahan of Raleigh as an appropriate representative from local and state government, academic institutions, research or advocacy groups. Callahan currently serves as Executive Director of Conservatives for Criminal Justice Reform, a nonprofit group. Callahan also serves on the Juvenile Justice Advisory Committee and the North Carolina Commission on Racial and Ethnic Disparities in the Criminal Justice System.
♦ Brooke Locklear Clark of Pembroke as District and Superior Court Judges representative. Judge Clark practiced law for fourteen years and was a partner with Locklear & Clark, LLP. She focused her practice in the areas of criminal, traffic, domestic, civil and juvenile law. On August 1, 2018, Judge Clark was sworn in as a District Court Judge for Judicial District 16B and became the first American Indian female Judge in the state of North Carolina. Judge Clark is a member of the Robeson County Family Treatment.
♦ James E. Clemmons Jr. of Rockingham as a sheriff representative. Clemmons is the Richmond County Sheriff. Clemmons was hired as a Patrol Deputy at Richmond County Sheriff’s Office in 1989 and was then promoted from Lieutenant, to Captain and then as Major before being elected as Sheriff in 2011. He recently served as the First Vice-President of the North Carolina Sheriff’s Association.
♦ Mitch Colvin of Fayetteville as a local elected official representative. Colvin is the Mayor of the City of Fayetteville after being elected in 2017 and previously served on the city council. During Colvin’s tenure as mayor, he was instrumental in bringing a minor league baseball team to the city. Colvin also serves on the Governor’s Crime Commission and was awarded the 2019 Historically Black College and University Living Legend Award.
♦ C.J. Davis of Durham as a chief of police representative. Davis serves as the Durham Chief of Police and has served in the law enforcement profession for 32 years. Davis is the president of the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives and is a member of the board of directors of the International Association of Chiefs of Police.
♦ James D. Gailliard of Rocky Mount as a North Carolina General Assembly representative. Gailliard serves as Representative of House District 25 and serves on the Appropriations Committee as well as the Health and the House Select Committee on School Safety. Gailliard is the Pastor of the Word Tabernacle Church in Rocky Mount. He also serves on the Governor’s Task Force to Develop a Representative and Inclusive Vision for Education.
♦ Billy Gartin of Garner as an appropriate representative from local and state government, academic institutions, and research or advocacy groups. Gartin is a Sergeant for the Raleigh Police Department. He currently serves as the Academy Commandant in the Administrative Services Department where he supervises the training of all Raleigh police recruits. Gartin is a Marine Corp veteran.
♦ Michael Hawkins of Brevard as a local elected official representative. Hawkins is a Transylvania County Commissioner and currently serves as Chair. Hawkins is also the President of Pisgah Enterprises. He is currently a member of the Executive Board of the Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina and serves on the North Carolina Travel and Tourism board.
♦ Henderson Hill of Charlotte as a representative of organizations that represent or advocate with communities of color. Hill is the Senior Counsel of the ACLU Capital Punishment Project and is Co-Director of Redress NC, a startup initiative to encourage collaboration with reform-minded prosecutors in North Carolina. Hill previously served as Executive Director of Center of Death Penalty Litigation.
♦ Erik A. Hooks of Raleigh as a North Carolina Department of Public Safety Representative. Hooks is the Secretary of the North Carolina Department of Public Safety. Hooks joined the N.C. State Bureau of Investigation in 1989 where he served as a special agent, assistant special agent in charge with the Special Investigations Division, as well as unit commander/manager for Professional Standards. In 2005, Hooks rose to be the SBI assistant director over the professional standards division. Hooks serves as the state’s homeland security advisor and chairs the State Emergency Response Commission.
♦ John Ingram of Bolivia as sheriff representative. Ingram has served as the Sheriff of Brunswick County since 2008. Sheriff Ingram currently serves as President of the North Carolina Sheriffs’ Association and is slated to serve as Chair of the Executive Committee for 2020-2021. In 2019, he received the Dogwood Award from the North Carolina Attorney General’s office.
♦ John Letteney of Apex as a chief of police representative. Letteney serves as the Chief of Police for the Apex Police Department and previously was the Chief of Police for the Southern Pines Police Department. Letteney has served as a law enforcement official for over 35 years and has won numerous awards such as the Outstanding Law Enforcement Executive from the National Alliance on Mental Illness. Letteney is the 3rd Vice President of the International Association of Chiefs of Police and is a past president of the North Carolina Association of Chiefs of Police.
♦ Mujtaba Mohammed of Charlotte as a public defender and North Carolina General Assembly representative. Mohammed serves in the North Carolina State Senate, representing District 38. Mohammed is an Assistant Public Defender in Charlotte and previously worked as a child advocate at the Council for Children’s Rights.
♦ Marcia Morey of Durham as an appropriate representative from local and state government. Morey serves as a Representative for House District 30. She previously served and worked as an Assistant District Attorney in Durham, and as a District Court Judge. She was also the Executive Director of the Governor’s Commission on Juvenile Crime and Delinquency Prevention.
♦ Mary Pollard of Raleigh as an appropriate representative from local and state government. Pollard is the Executive Director of the North Carolina Prisoner Legal Services Inc. in Raleigh and will serve as the Executive Director of the North Carolina Office of Indigent Defense Services starting in August. She previously served on the North Carolina Commission on Racial and Ethnic Disparities in the Criminal Justice System.
♦ Kerwin Pittman of Raleigh as a justice-involved individual representative. Pittman serves as the Founder and Executive Director of Recidivism Reduction Education Program Services. He also serves on the state re-entry council collaborative.
♦ Ronnie Smith of Robersonville as a local elected official representative. Smith currently serves as the President-Elect of the North Carolina Association of County Commissioners. He was first elected to the Martin County Board of Commissioners in 2002, where he served as chair from 2008-2010 and 2012-2014. Smith served for 20 years in the US Air Force and currently serves on the NC Works Commission.
♦ Alan Thornburg of Asheville as District and Superior Court Judges representative. Thornburg currently serves as the senior resident Superior Court Judge for Buncombe County and presides over Buncombe County’s Adult Drug Treatment Court. Thornburg previously served as a North Carolina Court of Appeals Judge.
♦ Talley Wells of Chapel Hill as an appropriate representative from local and state government. Wells is the Executive Director of the North Carolina Council on Developmental Disabilities. He previously led the Georgia Appleseed Center of Law and Justice and the Disability Integration Project at the Atlanta Legal Aid Society, and also founded the Olmstead Disability Rights Clinic at Georgia State School of Law.
♦ Angelica Wind of Asheville as a victim associate representative. Wind is the Executive Director of Our Voice, Inc., an organization whose mission is to serve victims of sexual violence and to create communities free of sexual violence. Wind previously served as the Executive Director of the Asheville Latin Americans for Advancement Society and also worked as an Immigrant Outreach Specialist for the NC Coalition Against Domestic Violence.
♦ James Raeford Woodall Jr. of Hillsborough as a District Attorney representative. Woodall is the District Attorney for the 18th Prosecutorial District in Chatham and Orange counties. He previously served as Senior Assistant District Attorney of the 15B Prosecutorial District and as a Consultant for McCoy Enterprises Inc.