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Attorneys representing protesters say CMPD is abusing power, violating rights

Published: Jun. 17, 2020 at 11:17 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - Several Charlotte attorneys believe some Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police officers are violating the rights of protesters. They claim officers are scaring protesters with threats to keep them off the streets.

The attorneys say at one point, officers have gone so far as to sit outside a protester’s home in a marked police car to intimidate them. They also say the mistreatment isn’t just geared toward protesters, the attorneys representing protesters say they’ve been threatened too.

It’s anyone’s right to protest, but these attorneys feel like the police are trying to use their power to take that right away.

“Their faces have been planted and pushed to the ground and things have been said like, ‘I told you to stay off my street. I told you to stay off my highway,’ so these are not things that we are not making up in our minds. These are things that are happening,” said Darlene Harris.

Harris is representing some protesters who have been arrested during demonstrations. She says CMPD is also making it hard for her and other attorneys to fight for their clients. When attorneys have shown up to the jail Harris says they are either given the run around by officers or have been threatened with an arrest even after they show their courthouse credentials.

“For some of us it’s motivation, for some us it’s dehumanizing, for some of us it’s a reminder that it doesn’t matter what degree, license or badge you hold, to some people it’s just not enough. It will never be enough” said Harris.

WBTV’s Bria Bell emailed CMPD about the accusations. A spokesperson replied saying, “CMPD is aware of this allegation, and an internal investigation is being conducted to ensure the actions of the officers involved were consistent with CMPD policy and procedures”.

Glo Merriweather has spent multiple days protesting. She was recently arrested and said officers refused to give her any reason why and forced her to sit in a police car for at least two hours with no answers before they put her in jail.

“I was crossing the intersection to go get into a vehicle and they jump off of their trucks and walk towards me. My name was never said. I was with three people and they just snatched me away from those people,” said Merriweather.

The attorneys are working these cases for free are and say right now they are disappointed in CMPD with how things are being handled.

Attorneys did not give a clear indication on whether they would be pursuing a lawsuit against CMPD for the accusations but stated it was not out of the question.

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