Charlotte Activists Concerned The 2020 Republican National Convention Could Create A Threat To Their Civil Liberties

CHARLOTTE, NC.– Charlotte activists are concerned the 2020 Republican National Convention could create a threat to their civil liberties. They’re calling for Charlotte City Council to adopt a resolution requiring CMPD to be transparent.

The activists want City Council to approve the equipment CMPD keeps from federal grant money for RNC security. They also want changes to how arrests are made during protests.

Charlotte activists say the public has a right to know what equipment CMPD is buying with federal grant money to secure the 2020 RNC and what the department plans to keep after the convention.

“CMPD keeping militarized and crowd control equipment after the convention that we do not think that they need to do because they use that to violate people’s civil liberties,” says Director of Safe Coaltion NC Robert Dawkins.

Safe Coalition NC is proposing the Civil Liberties Protection Act of 2018. They want city council to approve any purchase or equipment gained through the $50 million dollar federal grant for crowd control technology, surveillance equipment or military grade equipment that CMPD uses.

For example, CMPD kept 131 wireless cameras and 95 license plate readers paid for with grant money for DNC security.

“Give the public a right to comment before CMPD purchases it, and to make sure that the City Council had to vote in the affirmative,” says Dawkins.

Former FBI Assistant Director Chris Swecker says CMPD should be able to keep whatever equipment it gets from the federal grant.

They get new equipment, they get a lot of grant funding to enable them to do their jobs effectively during the convention. So should they be able to maintain that equipment, absolutely,” says Swecker.

A source with CMPD tells WCCB the city does announce what equipment is being purchased, and that most of the gear goes through a public bid process.

Safe Coalition plans to bring their civil liberties protection act to city council in September.