BROWARD (CBSMiami) – For the first time in Broward’s history, voters elected three Black men as sheriff, state attorney and public defender.
“It’s not just Black history, it’s Broward history, it’s American history,” said Harold Pryor, the newly-elected state attorney. “This is a reflection. We are evolving into a diverse community.”
CBS4 spoke to Pryor a day after he defeated Republican Gregg Rossman in the general election.
More than history making, Pryor said his election is an opportunity to change the criminal justice system.
“We have to look at nonviolent offenders and get them the help they need,” he said.
Pryor supports expanding no cash bond for nonviolent offenders and fortifying diversionary programs for drug and mental health cases.
“We don’t need to overpopulate prisons with people who don’t pose a threat,” he explained.
Pryor plans to work with Sheriff Gregory Tony and Public Defender Gordon Weekes to make the system more just.
“Criminal justice reform is the order of the day,” said Marsha Ellison, the head of Broward’s NAACP.
Ellison said she will work with the state attorney, sheriff and public defender to hold the three accountable.
“We know African Americans are charged more harshly and convicted more often,” Ellison said. “This is an opportunity to keep the community safe and dispense justice equally.”
That includes children and how law enforcement responds to incidents like the rough takedown of a teenager in Tamarac.
Ellison added she’s working to reignite the PROMISE program, which has been stalled since the confessed Parkland killer was linked to the diversionary program for nonviolent offenses.
“We need to look at all entry points to the system. The majority of the children look like me,” said Ellison.