Charlotte Clergy Group Calling for Police Reform

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – A group of concerned clergy is joining others in calling for police reform in Charlotte, speaking out before and during Monday night’s City Council meeting.

The group is calling for an end to CMPD’s use of chemical agents like tear gas or pepper spray, which were deployed during protests in May and June over the killing of George Floyd.

“If their job is to protect and serve the people, then we cannot foster power arrangements which allow police to trample on constitutional rights,” says Rev. Peter Wherry.

The latest use came during protests in Marshall Park on Saturday.

Cell phone video shows police deploying pepper spray while trying to separate two groups.

Witnesses say it happened after “Defund the Police” protesters showed up at a “Back the Blue” rally.

Police say the pepper spray was used after someone tried to steal an officer’s bike, but protesters dispute that.

The group is also calling for more public input in big decisions like the hiring of new police chief Johnny Jennings.

Charlotte City Council has already banned CMPD from purchasing chemical agents in the upcoming year, but the department still has a stockpile.

A City Council committee is also conducting an in-depth review of CMPD.

Some activists have called for an independent audit of the department’s budget.