CHARLOTTE — Hundreds of people have marched in unity across Charlotte for more than a week, protesting civil injustice and police brutality.
It is how police have been breaking up those demonstrations that has prompted city councilmen Braxton Winston and Larken Egleston to introduce a series of changes to council members on Monday night.
“I believe we can take immediate action to reform policing here in Charlotte and set an example for the rest of America,” Winston told Channel 9 reporter Anthony Kustura on Friday.
Winston’s proposal includes preventing police spending on chemical agents like tear gas and pepper balls. It would also include a police accountability committee made up of City Council members and the city manager to analyze the police department’s spending and policies.
Winston’s announcement comes after a video streamed live by alternative newspaper Queen City Nerve during Tuesday night’s demonstrations in uptown went viral.
The video appeared to show officers cornering protesters, then firing off tear gas. The images have triggered an investigation from the SBI, and CMPD Chief Kerr Putney is calling on the courts to release all related videos of the incident.
Winston wants to take it a step further with the new changes that would allow people to protest peacefully.
“I think it’s beautiful,” he said of the demonstrations. “I am inspired and proud of the people of Charlotte.”
Winston said the proposal won’t address the supply of chemical agents CMPD currently has. It would, however, limit the purchasing power of supplies starting next year.
Councilman Larken Egleston will also ask the council to adopt a police reform initiative called “8 Can’t Wait.”
It would ban chokeholds, require de-escalation and require officers to report all force.
The meeting begins at 5 p.m. Monday.
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