City of Charlotte holds press conference after emergency meeting

The mayor of Charlotte spoke on Tuesday of a video of a situation between police and protesters. “Last night is one of those nights none of us can be proud of.”

CHARLOTTE, North Carolina – Charlotte Mayor Vi Lyles says there are no words to describe Tuesday night’s incident on 4th Street where protesters appeared to have been trapped between different lines of officers of the CMPD.

“Most of you know there was a video of the protest action that took place last night. And on that video it looks like there are probably no words to describe the how she appeared and how she acted and transformed outside, ”Lyles said.

Earlier Wednesday, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police said they would conduct an internal review of the actions of their officers after protesters said they were trapped and gassed in upscale neighborhoods.

Protesters say they were acting peacefully during a march when CMPD agents trapped them in a 4th Street parking lot, using pepper spray and tear gas on crowds. The department sees it a little differently, with CMPD claiming stones and bottles were thrown at officers during Tuesday night’s protest.

“Last night is one of those nights that none of us can be proud of. That we wouldn’t want to happen in our city. But it has happened. And I hope everyone is aware that it is. isn’t the kind of department we want It’s not the kind of reputation we want to have nationally or locally, ”Lyles said.

Charlotte City Council met behind closed doors on Wednesday and Lyles said the one thing all members agreed to was hearing from residents.

“We have to make sure we ask the questions: what is this pain that is causing you and what can we do about it,” Lyles said.

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The mayor announced that an open forum will be held outside the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Government Center, 600 E 4th Street, Wednesday from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. and again Friday from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.

“Charlotte City Council, your mayor, we all think we’re in a particularly dangerous time right now. We can decide whether we really need to work for a better city or we can just sit back and let ourselves be in a place of darkness. I prefer light to darkness any day, ”Lyles said.

During the open forum, city leaders spoke with community members who were angry at the incident. After a heated exchange, community members began chanting “walk with us”.

This is exactly what Mayor Lyles did, walking away to lead hundreds of people through the streets of Charlotte.

Some accused Mayor Lyles of not answering many questions from the community during the event.

Later, members of Charlotte City Council and Mayor Lyles joined the protesters by kneeling on 4th Street where the controversial incident happened on Tuesday night. In homage to George Floyd, the group knelt for nearly nine minutes.

CMPD captain Brad Koch also knelt with protesters, telling a woman it was “on behalf of the whole department.”

Protesters also dropped to one knee in honor of other victims killed by officers.

Once the protesters reached the CMPD headquarters in downtown Charlotte, some began chanting “where’s the boss.”

Shortly after, it was announced that, by popular demand, the CMPD leader was on his way to speak to the protesters – it was not clear whether he was referring to CMPD leader Kerr Putney or the future CMPD leader. CMPD, Johnny Jennings.

City manager Marcus Jones also spoke at the press conference on Wednesday, saying that in order to keep the public’s trust they were calling on the SBI to investigate what had happened.

Jones said the SBI will review policies regarding policing and procedures. If the review finds any of this to be incorrect, Jones said they will be corrected.

“If these policies and procedures are found to be adequate during this review, we’ll address them anyway,” Jones said. “Because what happened last night is a reflection of us and it is important that you continue to trust the leaders of the city.”

Lyles said Charlotte Mecklenburg Police should post all body camera videos of the incident so that everyone can see what happened. She says state law gets in the way, but they’re working on it.

“This video is disturbing. There are no two ways about it, ”CMPD chief Kerr Putney said at a press conference on Wednesday. “And the other thing I need you to know is that there are a lot of other angles, videos and perspectives that you have to see.”

Putney explained that approval must come from a judge to release the body camera video.

“And that’s exactly what we’re going to do,” he said.

Putney said he had asked the SBI to review the incident to determine whether or not any laws were broken. There will also be an internal investigation.

“I can’t go into details, but I can tell you that I didn’t like what I saw. I can’t wait to be able to share more,” Putney said.

He went on to say that this incident overshadows all the positive work the officers have been doing.

This is a developing story. Refresh this page for the latest news from WCNC Charlotte.

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