"Speak Out" is an expression of opinion from the Editorial Board of WBTV, and is presented by editorial board member, Jess Sessoms.
WBTV’s Editorial Board recently met with Charlotte’s Chief of Police, Kerr Putney.
We asked him about his vision for CMPD.
But on the morning of our meeting, the Chief was also dealing with the release of a video showing several of his officers subduing a suspect in a hit and run accident.
Officers say the subject resisted arrest, and one officer is seen repeatedly landing blows to the suspect’s back.
The goal was to get the suspect to release his arms so officers could cuff him.
As you might imagine, there were those who called the officer’s actions excessive. CMPD immediately began an investigation.
From the outset, Chief Putney and his department were transparent about the events and the officer’s tactics in getting a suspect to comply with arrest.
Putney says the use of force did not rise to a criminal level, but that his department would see if there had been any policy violations.
Policing is a tough business, and most officers handle the job very well.
But we have seen others who cross the line into police brutality.
However this particular incident turns out, we count on the Chief to police his department as vigorously as his officers do the criminals they pursue.
In this case, we believe Chief Kerr Putney did just that.
We hope his handling of this matter, and others that will inevitably arise, will help build trust between officers on the street and the citizens they vow to serve and protect.