Mayor Vi Lyles Marches With Protestors After Tense City Council Session

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Moments after a heated exchange, community members, yelled “walk with us” to city leaders. Mayor Vi Lyles, council members and the city manager led hundreds from the government center down Fourth Street and back.

The community demanding answers after last night’s protest. Many wanting to know who gave the officers the order.

Chief Kerr Putney says he doesn’t know but the department will investigate. Charlotte’s top cop says chemical munitions will not be used in protests if there is no violence.

“No violence, no assaultive behavior, no damage to property, no problem. No problem,” Chief Putney said.

In a one-on-one interview with Mayor Lyles, WCCB’s Alexandra Elich asked when CMPD will put in place a stronger duty to intervene policy requiring officers to intervene when they observe excessive force by another officer.

“I think that you will see that very quickly. In weeks,” Mayor Lyles said.

We also asked for her response to criticism that she and council are intimidated by CMPD and unwilling to hold police accountable.

“So no I’m not intimidated at all because doing what’s right, you have to remember most of the police officers in this force they have to live here as well. They have neighbors and friends and congregations of faith,” Mayor Lyles said. “Let’s not make them out to be one mass image that’s not accurate.”

Mecklenburg NAACP President Corine Mack says she holds the mayor, city manager and the city council responsible. Adding, something has to change.

“New leadership. New leadership. Grassroots leaders who understand our plight. Who have compassion and care and understanding of what it feels like to be black in this country,” Mack said.

CMPD’s Statement On The Events Of Tuesday Night And SBI Review Of Procedure

What began as a lawful protest yesterday afternoon took a considerable turn for the worse just before 9:00 last night. Several officers became targets for violent protesters bent on turning a lawful demonstration into a riot.

Over a roughly four-hour period:

There were at least 18 incidents of protestors throwing objects at officers
Nine dispersal orders were communicated
16 protestors arrested
Three guns were recovered (including assault rifle)

There have been at least 53 reported incidents of officers being assaulted over the last six days. Just before 9:30 p.m., a group of several hundred protesters who were given several orders to disperse because of the violent criminal activity they were engaging in throughout the night marched up 4th street. A coordinated operation involving riot control agents to disperse the crowd was undertaken.

There is nothing to indicate whatsoever that there was intentional abuse on the part of our officers. In the interest of accountability, I have requested an independent review of the incident by the State Bureau of Investigation to ensure there is an objective set of eyes to determine if CMPD actions were lawful.

It is regrettable, and something we take seriously. We have an enormous responsibility to ensure all of our operations are carried out with precision.

We as an organization need to learn from this incident, and redouble our efforts to ensure that we’re doing everything we can to keep the community, protesters and officers safe. We are a learning organization and always working to identify opportunities to serve our community better.