Students from Winston-Salem State University, Salem College and Wake Forest University visited Attorney General Roy Cooper’s office in Raleigh at about 1 p.m. this afternoon to deliver a banner with more than 200 signatures calling on him to move to vacate the conviction of Kalvin Michael Smith.
Smith was convicted in the brutal beating of Jill Marker, but has steadfastly professed his innocence. Investigations by the Winston-Salem Journal, a committee appointed by Winston-Salem City Council and retired FBI assistant director Chris Swecker have cast serious doubt on the integrity of the police investigation leading to Smith’s conviction.
The students said in a statement released this evening that Cooper’s staff refused to speak with them, and that their phone messages to the Attorney General’s office have gone unreturned. Ultimately, they left the banner and a letter with a security officer without any assurance that Cooper would receive the items.
“The refusal of Attorney General Cooper’s office to take just 60 seconds to meet with us and receive a banner signed by over 200 students demonstrates Mr. Cooper’s utter disregard for the concerns of students and North Carolina citizens,” the statement reads.
Cooper is completing his fourth term as attorney general and is a Democratic candidate for governor.