CMPD Chief Jennings to join panel of police chiefs across nation to discuss bridging racial divide

CMPD Chief Jennings to join panel of police chiefs across nation to discuss bridging racial divide
(Source: @cmpdchief/Twitter)

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Chief Johnny Jennings will participate in a National Town Hall discussion Monday morning to talk about important topics in regard to racial issues and policing.

The discussion “Bridging the Racial Divide” will include police chiefs from across the country.

The town hall will touch on topics such as confronting racial issues to creating positive change in the community.

You can watch the town hall discussion here at 10 a.m. on Monday, March 29.

Jennings was sworn in as CMPD chief on July 1, replacing his predecessor Kerr Putney.

The new police chief, who has been with the department for nearly 29 years now, took over during a time of protests across the country, stemming from the high-profile cases involving race and policing.

Last year, the deaths of Breonna Taylor, George Floyd and others sparked outrage across the country, which led to protesters marching and chanting, and often continued to end in disputes with law enforcement officers.

Jacob Blake, a Black man who was shot several times and was left paralyzed by a Kenosha, Wis. police officer, had local implications. His father, Jacob Blake Sr., lives in Charlotte and joined protesters in uptown Charlotte.

Charlotte protests got revved up in late May following Floyd’s death and lasted most of the summer. Floyd died on the streets of Minneapolis after he repeatedly told officers that he could not breathe.

The excessive force that killed an unarmed black man caused protests throughout the nation.

In August, the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department released hours of body-worn camera footage taken on June 2, where protesters said they were trapped intentionally by police without an exit route.

An independent state bureau review of the incident concluded that protesters did have an exit route during the incident and CMPD policy wasn’t violated. The policy was changed shortly after though.

In the body-worn camera footage, it appears there was a plan by CMPD bike unit leaders to purposefully tear gas protesters on both sides on 4th street.

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