Police officials in Charlotte can no longer buy chemical agents, like those used last week during protests in uptown. The move came Monday night after a City Council vote, which removed money from the city’s budget for such equipment.
The 9-2 vote, coinciding with days of protests over the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, brings some change to how Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police officers can control and disperse crowds. And the decision tasks a Charlotte City Council committee with the responsibility of scrutinizing and adjusting how CMPD spends money and creates policy.
“For the allies, please know that we need you to keep the same energy tomorrow morning that you have displayed over the past few weeks,” said City Council member Braxton Winston, who introduced the funding maneuver.
The local Fraternal Order of Police quickly rebuked the City Council’s vote as “dangerous” on social media, asking what options are now available for police officers as they protect businesses and homes during protests, the Charlotte Observer reports.
“Without their use, this city would be on fire, and injuries would be much greater,” the FOP said of chemical agents. “As rocks and explosives are hurled at them, what measures do the police in Charlotte now have to defend themselves and the preservation of life and property?”
In addition to the George Floyd protests and riots, CMPD could also be faced with civil unrest during the Republican National Convention, which could still be held in Charlotte during August. Negotiations with the RNC and the State of North Carolina over COVID-19 restrictions could result in the event being moved to another city.