'It changed me...' Charlotte council member rides along with police

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - A Charlotte council member joined the police force, if only for a night.

"Here at CMPD's metro division walking in for roll call," Tariq Bokhari says in a self-shot video from his ride-along.

Bokhari rode along with officers in the city Friday night for a first-hand look at day-to-day life on the job.

"It changed me in a lot of ways," he says.

The end of police week, the council member strapped on a camera and bulletproof vest, heading out on third shift with an officer.

"I saw the entire spectrum of what they go through," he says.

It prompted him to write a letter to CMPD, promising he "will work hard to make this budget produce an extra-ordinary outcome relating to [their] salary."

The letter, posted on Facebook by CMPD, has received more than 2,500 shares.

This comes after widespread attention on a controversial tweet from fellow council member LaWanna Mayfield, whose tweet about police got widespread attention recently. In it, she says that "Being Black in America under #45 has created homegrown terrorist wearing blue uniforms."

"You can tear somebody down in a few seconds in a tweet," Bokhari says. "But it takes a lot more effort to lift someone up."

That is his aim, he says, through the nine hours he spent in a squad car, and as he turns now to the city budget.

Officers have packed council chambers several times with their plea for pay increases.

"The ship is sinking and there are lifeboats in the water," one officer said to council. "But they're not from Charlotte."

Those officers are calling for a 15 percent raise. Right now, the city manager's proposed budget allows a 6.5 percent increase. It is a budget Bokhari and other council members will continue to consider.

"Just the fear of walking behind them up those stairs, in a dark place," Bokhari says of his experience with officers. "Their heartrates probably didn't move an inch. I was freaking out."

When asked what he specifically wants to see in the budget for police, Bokhari reiterates, something "extraordinary." He says the officers he spoke to would consider that any increase in the double digits.

Council's next budget workshop is May 30. They will give it a final vote on June 11.

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