CMPD Chief On Black Lives Matter: “Every Life In This Community Matters”
CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Charlotte’s Top Cop sat down with WCCB TV’s Morgan Fogarty for a one-on-one interview this week. They covered a range of topics. Here, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Chief Kerr Putney talks about the Black Lives Matter movement and systemic racism in policing.
Fogarty asked Putney: “Do you support Black Lives Matter?” The Chief says, “Here’s what I’ll tell you, and we keep getting beat up about that. Black Lives Matter, all the time, to me. All the time, to us. Every life in this community matters and the problem is, I’m not making a proclamation that somebody else’s is more valuable. That is not what it’s about. What I am saying, though, is the work we do in minority communities speaks for itself.”
The chief cites his department’s efforts to divert young people from jail and into the department’s REACH academy, where he says they learn life skills and have their records expunged. (And to be clear, Black Lives Matter is not about saying black lives are more valuable.)
Fogarty also asked the Chief for his thoughts on systemic racism within policing. He says, “To me, talking about systemic anything is an excuse not to hit it, head on. We have a humanity issue. Racism and bigotry is just about people. People who are different. Who are not going to make the effort to get to know each other better, and the ‘systemic whatever’ is an excuse to keep each other at a distance.”
Charlotte City Council voted on Monday to prevent CMPD from buying chemical agents for crowd control in fiscal year 2021. Fogarty asked, “What was your reaction?” The Chief smiled, and then replied, “For TV, my reaction was very professional. That is well within their purview, and we looked at our budget for ’21, and were happy to see we didn’t have any ammo to be purchased next year. But we get the symbolism, and as a professional, I totally understand it.”