State offices to close in honor of Juneteenth

Gov. John Carney has announced he sign an executive order next week banning the use of chokeholds by Delaware State and Capitol Police, as well as require additional de-escalation training. 

"We will stop posting mugshots of children, mandate participation in the national use-of-force database and increase crisis intervention training and mental health services for police officers. These are first steps that we can take administratively to improve the relationship between law enforcement and communities of color," Carney said. "Talk is cheap. We are committed to moving forward productively - and in good faith - to make real change in Delaware. That starts with recognizing our shared history, and learning the lessons of the past.”

"Governor Carney demonstrated real leadership today. Banning chokeholds, ending the practice of ruining kids’ lives by posting their mugshots online while they are presumed innocent, participating in the national use-of-force database and implementing greater officer training are all concrete improvements that bring us closer to an ideal of justice. As the governor has said, talk is cheap, and I’m proud that he’s used his authority to achieve progress at a time when each of us is called to action. It’s a testament to the hard work and eloquent pleas of countless advocates, and a reminder of how much our little state can do when we are determined to act," said Delaware Attorney General Kathleen Jennings. 

"Our duty now is to expand on his work, because the job is far from finished. The governor’s reforms deserve to be codified and made statewide, and we need to continue to advance the cause by reforming Delaware’s use of force standards; funding and deploying body cameras across the state; establishing civilian review boards with subpoena power; and making sensible changes to the Law Enforcement Officer’s Bill of Rights to ensure accountability and transparency. This is real progress. Let’s keep it up."

The governor also announced that state offices will close on Friday, June 19, in recognition of Juneteenth.

President Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation officially ended slavery in the U.S. on Jan. 1, 1863, but it wasn't until June 19, 1865, that Union soldiers arrived to enforce the law in Galveston, Texas. The occasion became known as Juneteenth and has been celebrated ever since.

“Over the last several weeks, we have seen largely peaceful protests demanding racial justice and equality across our state. I have spent much of this time listening, and trying to chart a productive path forward. We can make meaningful change, and I believe we will," said Carney. "As we move forward, I believe the least that each of us can do is commit to learning the lessons of our history. The good and the bad."

Carney is also working with the Delaware Heritage Commission to create an educational program around issues of race and slavery in Delaware and the U.S.

At 11 a.m. on Friday, June 19, the governor will host a live discussion about Juneteenth with Dr. Reba Hollingsworth, Vice Chair of the Delaware Heritage Commission; local historian Sylvester Woolford; Dr. Donna Patterson, Chair of the Department of History, Political Science, and Philosophy at Delaware State University; and Dr. David Young, Executive Director of the Delaware Historical Society. Watch the Juneteenth discussion on Governor Carney's Facebook page, or at de.gov/live.