CMPD to release video of June 2 tear gas incident

Council views CMPD video from June 2 protests

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department Wednesday afternoon will release video of the June 2 tear gas incident, which happened during protests in the wake of the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Min.

A judge ordered release of the video after a court hearing on Friday, August 21, a CMPD source with knowledge of the court order told WBTV one day before the release. The source asked not to be identified because details of the order had not yet been made public.

That changed Wednesday morning when CMPD held a press conference to announce details of the video’s release.

“We wanted to make sure we were as transparent as we could be,” CMPD Johnny Jennings said. “CMPD is always looking to improve, to get better. And it’s important that we listen to the community.”

Members of the Charlotte City Council met in closed session Tuesday night to watch the video, which includes more than 100 hours from roughly 50 different video sources, including police body cameras, helicopter video and surveillance video from the Government Center.

The video will bring additional transparency to an incident in which protesters said they were effectively trapped when CMPD officers deployed tear gas from both sides of 4th Street.

Video from Queen City Nerve first brought attention to the department’s use of chemical munitions during protests that night.

In the days following the incident, then-CMPD Chief Kerr Putney called what happened a mistake and said officers are working to continue to build trust.

During Wednesday’s press conference, Chief Jennings announced specific changes the department would be implementing to make sure incidents like this didn’t happen again.

Officers will now give dispersal orders as well as communicate what direction a crowd should go at least twice before deploying riot control agents. Jennings said those “exit routes” will help keep crowds from being “corralled” by police with nowhere else to go.

CMPD requested the State Bureau of Investigation review the incident and, separately, filed a petition asking a judge to enter an order allowing the department to release the video.

Related: SBI concludes independent review into CMPD tactics during Charlotte protests

At the conclusion of Friday’s hearing, the CMPD source said, a judge entered an order allowing the department to show the video to council on Tuesday and to release the video publicly after noon on Wednesday.

The hearing was not made public on any court calendar or publicized ahead of time.

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