Community group issues 17 policy recommendations to CMPD after viral arrest

CHARLOTTE — The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department received 17 recommendations made by a community group after two controversial arrests last year.

In a news conference Tuesday, CMPD said the Community and Police Collaboration Group suggestions addressed the department’s de-escalation techniques, their response to resistance and how they handle marijuana use and enforcement.

The group was created in November 2023 after viral video captured CMPD officers arresting Christina Pierre and Anthony Lee at a southwest Charlotte bus stop. They were arrested over claims the two were smoking marijuana.

The Nov. 13 encounter ended with Pierre being struck 17 times by an officer. Fourteen of those hits were ruled unjustified and CMPD Officer Vincent Pistone was suspended for a week.


CMPD admitted the incident was a stain on the department. In response, Chief Johnny Jennings announced the new community group, saying it would review policies and recommend changes.

The group is made of multiple organizations, including the city’s Community Relations Committee, CMPD, the Citizens Review Board, the NAACP, the Latin American Coalition, clergy members, CMPD ambassadors, Action NC and the George Floyd Global Memorial.

As a result of the group’s recommendations, CMPD is putting the following changes into place:

  • Creating a dedicated de-escalation addendum to the existing Response to Resistance Policy
  • Improving Early Intervention System reporting, including adding aggregated data for the CMPD’s Internal Affairs annual report
  • More focus on slowing down police interactions and assessing situations through officer trainings
  • Including family members impacted by various situations with police to be incorporated into recruit training

A full list of the recommendations and CMPD’s responses can be found here.

Jibril Hough was on the committee that came up with the recommendations. He said the committee felt the other officers should have been required to stop Pistone’s strikes, and they wanted changes to the police duty to intervene policy.

“Have that bar raised a little bit higher instead of just sometimes standing around when you see someone,” Hough said. “The use of force has gone out of control.”

Police said in the November incident, some officers did use communication tactics to intervene. They are looking into it along with the de-escalation training.

The chief says they are looking at data to spot officers who may be at risk of misconduct.

“When this group formed, we knew we would have some tough and challenging conversations, as well as some thoughtful recommendations, from the group here,” Deputy Chief Jacquelyn Bryley said during Tuesday’s news conference.

Bryley said in addition, the group recommended CMPD officers shouldn’t investigate based on the smell of what they presume to be marijuana.

“They also recommended for CMPD to push the legalization of marijuana,” she said. “However, marijuana continues to be illegal in North Carolina and under federal law.”

The city is looking at other new ways to make changes, including brining in George Floyd’s cousin to talk to officers about use of force. But they say overall, this is the start of a discussion into more changes to prevent what happened in November.

Tonya Jameson, a representative from the Citizen’s Review Board, says the hard work comes next.

“How do we get beyond just the policies that are in place, but really, getting officers to implement those policies so that we can protect both people and officers?” Jameson asked.

In three months, the department is set look back over the recommendations and responses to see if those changes or current policy helped.

Chief Jennings shared the following statement Tuesday in response to the recommendations:

“In November 2023, I announced the formation of the Community and Police Collaboration Group following a use-of force incident that occurred outside of a Bojangles’ restaurant in CMPD’s Steele Creek Division. The members of the group had a shared goal of constructive conversations to make recommendations regarding certain CMPD policies based on this situation. I knew those conversations would bring challenging questions and recommendations. But we have high standards as an agency and for our people, always welcoming the opportunity to learn how we can improve and better serve our community.

“The group made several recommendations across three categories - De-Escalation Techniques and Training, Use of Force/Response to Resistance Policy and Marijuana Use and Enforcement. As we implement some of these changes at CMPD following the conclusion of this group, my hope is that we will see positive changes as we continue to serve the City of Charlotte.

“I’d like to thank the members of this group for their time and dedication to this work. Community collaboration is at the core of our mission. If we’re going to better ourselves and better our agency, we have to work together with community at the head of the table.”

(WATCH BELOW: Activists want change after CMPD officer repeatedly hits woman during arrest)