November Update: Justice Committee

WATCH NOW: Justice Panel at the Bettye Davis African American Summit on COVID-19

The Bettye Davis Summit was a huge success. The Justice Committee conducted a panel discussion on justice intersected by COVID-19. The panel members included Anchorage District Court Judge Pamela Scott Washington, NAACP President Kevin McGee, and Justice Committee Co-Chairs Rex Butler and Rich Curtner. 

APD Bodycam Policy

The Justice Committee has been working with the ACLU of Alaska and other partners on reviewing and analyzing draft APD policy regarding implementation of body cameras. The bodycam working group has drafted a letter to the Public Safety Committee of the Anchorage Assembly highlighting concerns with current policy:

  1. No commitment to release video footage when an officer kills, shoots, or uses excessive force on a member of the community; 
  2. Insufficient privacy protections for video that is released;
  3. Policy provides officers too much authority to stop recording;
  4. Lack of clarity regarding officer discipline;
  5. Lack of clarity regarding video retention.

The working group presented these concerns to the Public Safety Committee on November 3, 2021. It was announced that another public session with APD and the Public Safety Committee would be scheduled, Stay tuned.

COVID in Alaska Jails and Prisons

The Justice Committee is organizing a project to inform those in the custody with accurate information regarding COVID-19. A committee of Cal Williams, Dr. Paula Williams and Rich Curtner will collaborate to create a COVID “tool-kit” for distribution to those who are incarcerated in Alaska jails and prisons.  

Redistricting Board

Every 10 years, after the Census is completed, each state must draft voter district maps for use for the next decade. The Alaska Redistricting Board has been traveling around the state taking public testimony in the process of drafting voter district maps for Alaska.

The Justice Committee has been monitoring this process. Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 prohibits an electoral practice or procedure that minimizes or cancels out the voting strength of members of racial or language minority groups in the voting population. We will keep you posted. 

Lawsuit Challenging the High Cost of Phone Calls at Alaska Jails

The Northern Justice Project has filed a lawsuit challenging the expensive costs of jail calls from those incarcerated to family members as a violation of the Alaska Constitution. ABC would like to consult with and assist NJP in this litigation. Many Black Caucus members and their families may be impacted by the excessive costs of telephone communication with incarcerated family members. If you would like to provide information and input on this issue you should notify the ABC Justice Committee.