Incoming CMPD Chief On Systemic Racism: “When You Have Enough People That Are Saying It’s An Issue, You Have To Pay Attention To It”

CHARLOTTE, NC. — Incoming Charlotte Mecklenburg Police Chief sat down with WCCB Charlotte’s Alexandra Elich. Chief Johnny Jennings will take over as CMPD Chief next week. They covered a range of topics including Black Lives Matter, systemic racism and violent crime.

Elich asked Chief Jennings if he thinks Black Lives Matter. Jennings says, “Oh absolutely. I think there’s a misconception when people hear Black Lives Matter. They’re saying Black Lives Matter just as much as all other lives. So yes, certainly we have to take a look at that and say hey we need to treat people fairly and be respectful of all people within our community and I think that’s our goal.”

In a ten minute, one-on-one interview, Elich asked: “Do you believe in systemic racism?”

“I think it’s evident in what we’ve seen. Our entire agency, law-enforcement in general, is based on racism. I’ve never really heard that view, but when you have enough people that are saying it’s an issue, you have to pay attention to it,” says Jennings.

Jennings says he believes the department needs to be more collaborative in the way they serve the community.  Adding, a big priority is fighting violent crime in our city.

“Internally there’s also work that we can do where we focus more on the violent offenders in some of the discretionary arrests or things that we can probably slow down a little bit on. We can do that as well.”

Elich asked: “What would you say to critics who might say that CMPD is not a transparent organization?” Jennings says, “I’d say that there are things in limits that we have. We try to be as transparent as we can, but we can only be as transparent as the courts will allow us as well.”