Judge dissolves restraining order that limited CMPD’s use of riot control agents

Updated: Jul. 24, 2020 at 4:14 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - A judge has dissolved the temporary restraining order that limited Charlotte police’s use of riot control agents during protests.

On Thursday, July 24, Judge G. Bell issued an order denying the plaintiff’s request for a preliminary injunction, and dissolving the temporary restraining order (TRO) signed on June 19 and amended on June 22.

In late June, a Mecklenburg County judge extended the order until a preliminary injunction hearing.

The temporary restraining order stated that police could use crowd control measures if there’s a risk to someone’s life during a protest or if there is any property damage and police aren’t able to single out the person responsible. However, before those could be used, police had to make sure exits were available to protesters and there must be sufficient warning before they’re used.

The original lawsuit that led to the restraining order was filed on behalf of protesters against the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department in late June. The lawsuit claimed protesters’ freedom of speech and assembly were violated by CMPD’s tactics to control the crowd. The lawsuit specifically talked about an incident on June 2 when protesters say they were peacefully marching down 4th Street in uptown Charlotte.

The protesters said they were trapped between two lines of riot police firing tear gas and pepper bullets with no way to escape. The State Bureau of Investigation reviewed the incident and said in its report that protesters had two avenues of exit where police weren’t blocking them.

On July 9, the NAACP and other plaintiffs were back in court with the lawyer for CMPD for an injunction hearing.

The lawyers for the plaintiff shared video of CMPD body camera footage on the night of June 2 that appeared to show officers trapping protesters with tear gas. The lawyers argued that force against peaceful protesters was excessive. They wanted to prevent it from happening in future protests.

The attorney for the defendant said the lawyers for the plaintiff should be handling this solely with a lawsuit instead of an injunction. She argued that these were not “peaceful” protesters and police acted to keep property and people safe. She cited that protesters pointed a laser at officers, threw water bottles and damaged vehicles.

Court officials say they will share a file stamped copy of the judge’s July 24 order by early next week.

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