First African American Mecklenburg County DA is sworn in

Published: Jan. 2, 2019 at 7:18 PM EST
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CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - Mecklenburg County has a new District Attorney.

Spencer Merriweather was sworn in Wednesday along with about 80 Assistant District Attorneys. Merriweather is Mecklenburg County’s first elected African American District Attorney. He won the election in November.

The Democratic ran unopposed. In this historic election Merriweather wants to have impact on a judicial system that some often find hard to trust.

"You cannot come from the type of legacy that I come from," Mecklenburg County District Attorney Spencer Merriweather said. "You cannot live the type of life I believe I lived in this world and not take issue of justice and fairness and safety extremely seriously."

Merriweather shared his priorities after getting sworn in. He wants to take a look at the bail system.

He doesn’t want violent suspects to be released from jail because they have money in their account.

The DA also wants to help create a Family Justice Center. The hope is the center would be a one stop shop for victims of sexual or domestic violence.

Merriweather says the center would provide all the resources a victim needs. City and county leaders are discussing how to make the Center a reality. The DA says safety and fairness cannot be an afterthought.

"The stakes of the work of criminal prosecution are high," Merriweather said. "There's not many jobs. There's not many vocations where we can say that it can really be a matter of life or death - a matter of safety and liberty for every single person that walks across our county."

Merriweather says he is up for the challenge and believes his team will get the job done. He believes one of the jobs of the DA's office is to give voice and comfort to victims.

"I know I am confident that the people of this office are going to be working hard every single day," Merriweather said. "To make sure we promote safety and fairness."

The DA also talked about partnering with other agencies to help improve the system. Merriweather says he will be ready and flexible to help achieve success in his role as DA.

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