City council considers how to move forward after Charlotte prote - | WBTV Charlotte

City council considers how to move forward after Charlotte protests

(WBTV photo from the council meeting.) (WBTV photo from the council meeting.)
CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) -

After a heated, passionate, tearful and angry city council meeting Monday night, council members started talking more about solutions on Tuesday.

Dozens of protesters chanted and called for the Mayor and Chief of Police to resign amid the shooting of Keith Lamont Scott by a Charlotte Mecklenburg Police Officer last week.

Police have said Scott had a gun and disobeyed commands to put it down. Scott’s family members and protesters have said he wasn’t armed and was never a threat.

Over the weekend, Chief Kerr Putney released dash cam and body cam video in an effort to be transparent with the community. The release came five days after the shooting, and after Chief Putney originally said the tapes would not be released to protect the integrity of the investigation.

When the State Bureau of Investigation said the release would not harm their work, Putney released the tapes. There’s no clear image on the tapes of Scott holding a gun, but Putney has said other evidence and witness account support their finding.

Protesters called for reform in how the black community is treated by police. Children took to the microphone to express their feelings. One girl asked the city to “fix it,” another girl said she worried every time an officer drove behind her father.

Council member Claire Fallon said she would not ask for the mayor’s resignation. 

“I would let her keep the gavel, that’s what she wants,” said Fallon in a way that expressed her disapproval of Mayor Jennifer Roberts, whom she said earlier “messed things up” in Charlotte.

Fallon did say she stands behind Chief Putney 100-percent.

Mayor Pro Tem Vi Lyles said the Chief leads a department that believes strongly in its mission to serve and protect. She said Mayor Roberts was surprised, like many people, about what took place in Charlotte with the protests and vandalism.

“I’m not surprised,” said Lyles about the uprising in Charlotte. “The national narrative around this is very real. We’re just experiencing our part. The national narrative is long-term policies that were built around race are impacting people differently today.”

Lyles issued a seven-point action agenda for city council to consider. It’s focused on affordable house, apprenticeship opportunities, job opportunities for low-income residents, and building a culture of trust.

Conservative Republican Kenny Smith bore much of the brunt at Monday’s council meeting and had to press protesters to allow him to speak. 

“I may have misjudged some of y’all and I was misjudged tonight. We need to talk,” said Smith.

He stuck around after the meeting to shake hands and talk with protesters. He plans on having lunch with one of them this week.

“It was eye opening for me last night, we do have a problem,” said Smith. “I think a lot of people who think like me, conservative Republicans, we need to participate in the solution. I said this last night, it’s not pandering. It’s not cowering.”

Mayor Roberts has called for town hall-style forums, a review by the Department of Justice into the CMPD investigation and use of force procedures. She told the crowd that ideas need to be implemented.

“My word is give some grace,” said Lyles.

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