Items from across the Triad and beyond
LOWE TAKES STATE SENATE SEAT
Rev. Paul Lowe Jr. was selected by the Forsyth County Democratic Party to replace former district 32 state senator Earline Parmon as she begins work with Rep. Alma Adams from North Carolina’s 12th congressional district.
Lowe, the pastor of Shiloh Baptist Church who has served various positions within the party, was chosen over former city councilwoman Joycelyn Johnson by 101 voting precinct members. In his victory speech, he said his major priorities for the coming legislative session will be jobs, healthcare and voting rights.
“The emergency room should not be a plan for good healthcare,” he said. “Our seniors should not have to choose between eating every day and buying medicine. That is simply wrong.”
Lowe also said one of his first actions in the legislature would be to sign a minimum wage increase. When asked about working with Republican colleagues, he said his intent is to focus on issues specific to his district.
“Like I said I want to continue to be a voice for this constituency and this community so that’s what I’m going to work towards,” he said.
Councilman Dan Besse, who had introduced Lowe, said he has gotten to know him through his work with the party at the local and state level. He said Lowe’s oratorical skills will be an asset when he takes office.
“Unfortunately the extreme right wing that runs the NC state Senate is not going to listen to anything that our representative has to say,” he said. “So what Paul will bring to the table there is the ability to speak clearly to what needs to be done for the people of our county and state.”
Besse said he had struggled with the decision of supporting Lowe or Johnson, but at the candidate forum on Jan. 27 he said Lowe’s answers impressed him, including an anecdote about how he determined that it was possible to walk out of a local pawn shop with an AK-47 rifle without an ID.
“Paul was able to answer clearly and directly questions within the time allowed, and that’s not always easy to do under pressure,” he said.
HIGH POINT HOLDS DIALOGUE WITH POLICE OFFICERS
High Point citizens and community leaders gathered Jan. 28 in the Williams Memorial CME Church to discuss policecommunity relations in the wake of several young people’s deaths. Among the topics discussed were traffic stops, police diversity training and instructions on how to act when arrested.
The discussion was facilitated by Chief Marty Sumner. He spent a good deal of time explaining the types of rights citizens have when they are detained under the “reasonable suspicion” doctrine — the lowest standard of proof for a crime.
Sumner said officers are only required to read Miranda rights to people being detained for specific actions they are accused of. He encouraged those in attendance to cooperate with officers even if they are being falsely accused of a crime and file a complaint after the fact.
“You don’t know what the officer knows,” Sumner said. “See if you can help him out. You guys are our eyes and our ears first and foremost.”
Sumner said of all traffic stops conducted through November 2014, 4,940 involved whites and 4,538 involved blacks. The percentages of blacks and whites for High Point are 54 and 33 respectively according to 2010 data from the US Census Bureau.
Resident Frederick Douglas said she was concerned about many young people being misunderstood in their interactions with police, leading to possible altercations.
“Respect is subjective; because when I was raised, I was raised to say yes ma’am, yes sir,” she said. “I have children who do not say yes ma’am, yes sir but they are respectful. By respect being subjective, a police officer can determine whether a person is being respectful.”
Sumner responded to this by emphasizing that it is usually clear as to whether someone being detained is acting disrespectfully.
“The cases that I’ve seen both on on-car camera and in the schools, it’s very clear the person’s being disrespectful,” he said.
Sumner was also asked about the department’s policy on using deadly force, to which he responded by saying it is used solely for self-defense of the officer in a threatening situation. He warned those in attendance to cooperate with any officer who pulls a gun.
“If a police officer pulls a gun on you, do not do anything but follow his direction,” he said. !