CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - The Charlotte City Council voted Monday night to approve an action plan to address anger, frustration and need expressed by neighbors at its last meeting two weeks ago.
The plan targets trust and accountability, affordable housing, and jobs. It will be discussed at the council's first meeting since all 11 members penned an open letter to the community saying more needs to be done to address economic opportunity and trust.
All this comes in response to a very passionate city council meeting two weeks ago. Dozens of speakers told city council how they felt racially profiled and don't trust police or city leaders when it comes to accountability and transparency.
The outrage followed days of protests which erupted nightly after the shooting death of Keith Lamont Scott by a Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Officer. CMPD says the shooting was justified and that Scott posed an imminent threat by having a gun and was only approached by officers after he was observed with marijuana and the firearm. Scott's family says he was waiting for his son's school bus to arrive and wasn't a threat. They say Scott lived with a traumatic brain injury following a motorcycle accident.
With public pressure mounting, CMPD Chief Kerr Putney released excerpts of a body cam and dash cam video days after the shooting. The rest of the police video, more than two hours long, soon followed.
Action Plan for Police
The City's action plan included approval of a review of CMPD procedures relating to the shooting and community engagement by an independent board. Other initiatives include discussing the release of body cam footage, equipping tactical officers with the cameras, discussing subpoena power for the Citizens Review Board, and reviewing de-escalation techniques.
Council will also hear an update on the Department's implementation from the President's Taskforce on 21st Century Policing.
Action Plan for Housing
As the city grows, council has continually discussed the need for thousands of more units of affordable housing in partnership with local, federal and private partners.
The action plan accelerates the goal of having 5,000 additional units in three, not five years as previously planned. City staff also recommends creating a strategic housing plan that addresses how to spread out affordable and workforce housing units across the city within a timeline.
Action Plan for Jobs
Council plans to also address the need for better paying jobs and opportunity for people with barriers to employment. One million dollars would develop a workforce program with in the construction and fiber optics fields. Job training, coaching and youth mentoring are also part of the action plan.
Much of the plan was expressed by Mayor Pro Tem Vi Lyles after the protests as a way to help the city work toward healing.
Funding for the initiatives would come from a Community Development Block Grant, General Capital Reserves, and Various General Fund Operating Budgets.
"We're doing it again. We're telling the community what it wants instead of having a place at the table for the community to tell us what it wants," said Council member Claire Fallon. "What about strong after school programs so we can get some education to these kids? What about a community bank run by the community?"
Fallon said the city needs to listen to the community.
"They don't want us to keep telling them what to do alright? It's called a place at the table alright. We haven't done it. This doesn't do it either. I think it's time – it's time to ask the community what it wants."
Council member Al Austin said "although we had quite a bit of emotion and anger on the 26th. I don't think that's over. People are still angry and I still feel that and I still feel that out in the community."
Austin said the action plan is just a start.
"These items are the beginning of us trying to take some action. We still got more work to do. There's a lot of multi-layered local state and federal issues and systems that will have to be broken through and share the American prosperity."