Charlotte police chief, activists respond to Police Foundation report

Charlotte police chief, activists respond to Police Foundation report

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - A 73-page draft report by the Police Foundation released Tuesday outlines what the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department has done right since the 2016 riots and what could use improvements.

"We've been assessing, we've been reevaluating, we've been making changes," Police Chief Kerr Putney says.

Chief Putney says little in the report surprised him. He says many of the items are things the department has already been working on, or has heard from the community.

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The 35 recommendations made by the foundation are broken into six categories in the report. Several of the recommendations focus on improving the department's social media. The report lists Facebook Live and Twitter as tools demonstrators used to "outmaneuver" police. Now, it is something police will need to work on to get their message out sooner.

The report also recommends a new committee, which is charged with deciding when to publicly release body-camera video from violent protest scenes. It is something some community activists like Robert Dawkins say is needed.

"There needs to be a uniform policy," he says.

Dawkins also emphasized a portion of the report that stated some pepper bullets may have been used against non-violent protestors.

"There were kids, people that were out there just to see what was going on not be involved, and they were hit by pepper bullets and rubber bullets," Dawkins says.

For Chief Putney, this report will serve as a tool to continue pushing Charlotte policing in a proactive direction.

"I'm just looking forward to really digesting and getting to the point of recommendations we can act upon," he says.

Putney originally asked for this report back in November.

Among other research, the Police Foundation interviewed more than 100 people, including not only police and city leaders, but community members as well.

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