CMPD grant request sparks heated city council discussion on immigration enforcement

Charlotte City Council meeting gets heated

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - Monday night, a grant presentation turned to a heated debate about immigration enforcement within Charlotte’s city council chambers.

CMPD came to council to ask for approval for a grant -- Nearly $200,000 to cover DWI enforcement.

During that request, council member Braxton Winston asked officers about their DWI enforcement efforts near Central Avenue last week, during the same time ICE officials were conducting arrest, because, he says, some people in the community were questioning whether the two were related.

"When we don't believe the people this is affecting, when we are silent about this, it makes it hard for us to execute on these promises of bridging differences," Winston said.

CMPD continues to deny it has any coordination with ICE.

“It appears that it just so happens that there was other federal activity going on at the same time,” an officer told them.

But the conversation continued, heating up.

"The idea there was some sort of collusion with anybody else is disrespectful to our police department," council member Ed Driggs said.

"Whether those two things are coordinated or not, it creates confusion, it creates anxiety," council member Larken Egleston said.

Eventually, Mayor Vi Lyles asked whether this topic of their relationship even pertains to the grant they were voting on.

Winston insisted that it does.

"I would encourage us to continue to question because that is what we were elected to do," he said.

As he finished that statement, the mayor added, "I thought we were elected to serve our community."

Several members of council began speaking in a heated exchange, ending with the mayor saying sorry for her words.

"I apologize for saying that," she said. "That was an inappropriate comment"

At the end of the full discussion, the vote for the DWI enforcement grant did pass.

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