Durham Co. Sheriff Withdraws Attempt to Disqualify Unaffiliated Candidate Maria Jocys from November Ballot
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, August 1, 2022
CONTACT: Gerrick Brenner
Durham Co. Sheriff Withdraws Attempt to Disqualify
Unaffiliated Candidate Maria Jocys from November Ballot
Now that the Sheriff’s legal challenge is over, Maria calls on Clarence Birkhead to join her to debate important issues on gun violence and police reform for Durham Co. voters.
DURHAM - Durham Co. Sheriff Clarence Birkhead has finally dropped his legal challenge to the candidacy of his opponent - Maria Jocys, an unaffiliated candidate for Durham Co. Sheriff.
At a Monday morning hearing before the State Board of Elections, a lawyer for Sheriff Birkhead was scheduled to argue why the state board should overturn a unanimous decision by the Durham Co. Board of Elections. The Durham BOE in June rejected Birkhead’s request to disqualify Jocys. Instead, Birkhead’s lawyer dropped the appeal before the SBE.
Birkhead’s concession ends a two month legal stunt in which Birkhead tried to disenfranchise the voice of Durham County voters whose validated signatures qualified Jocys for the November ballot.
“Now that Sheriff Birkhead has finally given up this legal stunt, I hope he will join me to debate Durham’s important issues on gun violence and police reform,” said Jocys. The two were scheduled to debate on July 20th at a forum sponsored by the Leesville Road Coalition, but Birkhead cancelled two hours before the forum. “Durham voters deserve to hear us explain and defend our records, our experience, and our vision to tackle Durham County’s gun violence and our plans to lead the state on local initiatives for police reform.”
BIrkhead and Jocys have debated only once before - back in March, when Maria asked:
Birkhead at that March 21st forum defended his record by saying: “I am not responsible for the violent crime that occurs inside the Durham City. This is my County. This is my City. I have citywide jurisdiction. But I do not carry the stats.”
Jocys has since released detailed plans to tackle Durham’s record-level gun violence and implement a Six-Point Plan for Reform.
In addition to saying he is not responsible for preventing violent crime inside the City of Durham, Sheriff Birkhead’s reform record also raises questions:
- Why did the Sheriff not initiate a Citizen Review Board as promised in his 2018 campaign?
- If transparency is a core value, why is the Durham Co. Sheriff’s Office not sharing its use-of-force data with the FBI’s national database, as Durham PD does?
- Why did it take three deaths over three years under disputed circumstances before the Sheriff issued body-worn cameras?
- Why does the Sheriff's Office not participate with the City of Durham’s Community Safety Department's pilot programs to include trained mental health clinicians on non-violent mental health 911 calls?
- What tangible actions has Sheriff Birkhead taken to prevent our youth from becoming involved with the criminal justice system?
- What programs has Sheriff Birkhead helped to provide trauma informed care to residents experiencing gun violence?
Ms. Jocys spent 32 years in law enforcement, including 24 years with the FBI. She was the first woman to lead the FBI’s Raleigh office. She then spent five years with a Safe Streets Task Force addressing Durham’s gang activity. She was raised in Durham and graduated from Southern High School.
Posted on 01 Aug 2022, 11:25 - Category: Clarence Birkhead