The Daily Tar Heel
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The Daily Tar Heel

No board needed: Incident isn’t enough to warrant civilian review board

The town of Chapel Hill does not need a civilian review board.

And the NAACP should cease its demands that the town establish one in the wake of the Charles Brown incident, when a black local business owner was stopped by police, who were searching for someone else.

Brown’s detainment June 1 was a mistake.

But the evidence is clear that the man police were searching for — Cumun Fearrington — shares similar facial features with Brown.

It is also clear that police were acting appropriately during the detainment — which lasted a mere 16 minutes, though the NAACP claimed it had lasted “almost an hour.”

The notion that this incident was racially motivated appears unfounded in light of this evidence.

And the town has taken all of the requisite steps to ensure that this incident was handled wisely. Its report not only debunked accusations of racial profiling with convincing evidence, but it also provided suggestions going forward to increase transparency and lower the probability of future controversies.

These suggestions — installing dashboard cams in all police cars and filing written reports after future similar incidents — are welcomed in light of the confusion surrounding the Brown incident.

But obstinate demands for a civilian review board are not, especially when the town’s internal investigation appears to be sufficient and deferential to the concerns of the NAACP.

Of course, Brown and the NAACP are free to disagree with the town’s evidence.

And they do. Michelle Cotton Laws, president of the NAACP Chapel Hill/Carrboro branch, dismissed the town’s report as “tainted with bias from the start.”

And if Brown feels the same way, then he is free to pursue legal action.

A jury consists of 12 civilians. If Brown still thinks the Chapel Hill Police Department committed a crime, then those 12 civilians can review his case in court.

Otherwise, there is no need to circumvent due process by creating a civilian review board to investigate something the town has already sufficiently investigated itself.

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