Without Mayor Roberts, Charlotte City Council issues letter supp - | WBTV Charlotte

Without Mayor Roberts, Charlotte City Council issues letter supporting CMPD chief Putney

(David T. Foster III | The Charlotte Observer) (David T. Foster III | The Charlotte Observer)

CHARLOTTE, NC (Steve Harrison/The Charlotte Observer) - The 11 members of the Charlotte City Council issued a response Monday to the shooting of Keith Lamont Scott and the protests that followed, saying they will focus on “safety, trust and accountability,” affordable housing and “good paying jobs.”

What’s most notable about the letter is that it was not signed by Mayor Jennifer Roberts, who upset some council members in the aftermath of the shooting when she released her own response to the protests a week ago.

In the mayor’s letter, she said the city’s “lack of transparency and communication about the timing of the investigation and release of video footage was not acceptable, and we must remedy that immediately.”

The council’s letter did not criticize city staff or address the mayor’s belief that the city had a lack of transparency in not more quickly releasing body and dash cam footage of the shooting.

The council letter states: “We support our Police Chief and the men and women of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department, including our Chief s continued efforts to enhance trust and accountability within the Department and within the community.”

Mayor Pro Tem Vi Lyles said the council decided to issue the letter on its own – without the mayor – because Roberts has already “made a number of statements.”

“We as the council felt like we needed to make a statement,” said Lyles, who is a Democrat like Roberts. “The mayor has had a number of statements. We wanted to be sure that people understood that we were listening and hearing.”

At last week’s council members, citizens berated Roberts and council members for more than two hours during a citizen’s forum. Many called on all of them to resign. Some cursed at them. Others made veiled threats about coming to their homes.

Lyles said she didn’t know if Roberts was asked to sign the letter.

Roberts said in an interview last week she supports CMPD chief Kerr Putney, while criticizing her and the city’s response to the shooting,

The council’s letter states, “We recognize that there are some people who enjoy relative wealth, prosperity and opportunity while others struggle to find good paying jobs, affordable housing,and some may not trust law enforcement. Our challenges are no different than in other places in this country.”

It continues: “Our love, passion and pride for our city demand action. To move forward requires everyone’s help. When our community comes together, great things happen. This is our spirit. This is our culture. This is our city. We will lead. We will act. We will do this together.”

The three focus areas listed in the letter are already part of the council’s five priorities.

The City Council has a public safety committee that focus on the police and fire departments; an economic development committee; and a Housing and Neighborhood Development committee.

In the letter, council members said they hope to build 5,000 new units of affordable housing this year. That is an already stated city goal.

Council members also said they would try to invest $1 million for a “new workforce development program that will increase jobs,training and opportunities for our youth and individuals with multiple barriers to employment.”

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