CMPD chief calls out leaders engaging in ‘irresponsible activism'

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Chief Kerr Putney called out leaders Friday morning at a news conference after a memorial was held for officers killed in the line of duty.

He said some city leaders engage in "irresponsible activism."

"Leadership is about showing people how much you support them," Putney said. "Leadership is about being there for people who you need you. If all you care about is accountability when it comes to this profession, I think this world is upside down.”

In a scathing speech, Putney called out leaders, but he did not mention names.

"I apologize sometimes for the lack of leadership that we see," Putney said.

The only elected official in attendance at the memorial was District Attorney Spencer Merriweather. No city elected officials attended the service.

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In a news conference this afternoon, Putney made it clear he was not talking about City Manager Marcus Jones or Mayor Vi Lyles.

"The mayor has been more than a leader for this city," he said. "A couple months ago, we had some tough times, and she was there every step of the way."

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Putney said his speech was targeted at irresponsible activists who said they support officers but then say negative things about them.

While Putney ruled out the mayor and city manager, Putney did not clear Charlotte City Council members.

"I think irresponsible activism shows through. Judging by what they do and say, if they do anything," he said. "When we are at our worst and you say statements that I think portray our officials in a bad light, I think that is irresponsible."

The city said Lyles was not in attendance at the memorial service because she got the time wrong.