City Council took a major step toward reforming policing in Charlotte on Monday.
Charlotte City Council took immediate and meaningful steps to demonstrate our commitment to protect this community when we vote on a new city budget. Currently, 40 percent of the budget goes to police, which equates to $290 million dollars.
I put forth a substitute motion to stop spending on chemical agents used by police for dispersing crowds exercising their Constitutional right to nonviolently protest.
I am making a substitute motion during the budget process to defund chemical agents used for crowd control and dispersal:
”I am making a substitute motion to direct the administration not to spend money to acquire new or maintain existing stocks of chemical agents used for crowd control and dispersal in Fiscal year 2021. Since there does not appear to be a specific budgetary line (these chemical agents are aggregated under “equipment”) we are directing the city manager to work with City Council and CMPD to create a City Council oversight committee and process that scrutinizes and adjusts police spending and policy.”
My motion also calls for the creation of a City Council and Manager oversight committee that will evaluate, scrutinize and recommend adjustments to police spending and policy involving such tactics. We can demand that de-escalation is at the core of every police interaction with citizens. This is how we will comprehensively reform policing.
You’ve seen our police department, and departments across the country, release clouds of tear gas into crowds protesting the killing of George Floyd, stinging eyes and causing marchers to remove masks in coughing fits in the middle of a health pandemic.
The time has come to stop a practice that is banned in war but happens in our own streets.
Chemical agents are taking the place of conversations. Chemical agents are taking the place of mourning. Chemical agents are taking the place of justice. Chemical agents are taking the place of room to breathe.
We are familiar with protesting in Charlotte. We all spent many dollars training both the police and community leaders on how to de-escalate and communicate. Let's use the skills that our community has been working on.
WHAT CAN YOU AS A CITIZEN DO?
This is a time and a place for you as a citizen to apply pressure and hold me and my colleagues accountable.
We are elected to represent you. I believe that this step can put Charlotte on a path to lead in reforming policing in America.
Continue to communicate with us so we can best represent you.