Judge: CMPD can use chemical agents against protesters

CHARLOTTE — A judge on Friday removed a temporary restraining order that kept Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department officers from using chemical agents against peaceful protesters.

Civil rights groups asked a judge to order the injunction until a lawsuit was decided.

The lawsuit stems from June 19 when hundreds marched for racial justice in uptown Charlotte. Many protesters were trapped on Fourth Street in a cloud of tear gas and pepper-spray bullets.

[CMPD launches second investigation into clash with protesters]

The ACLU filed a lawsuit on behalf of Charlotte Uprising and the NAACP against CMPD because of what happened that night.

CMPD officials said there was no coordinated effort to trap protesters.

Deputy Chief Jeff Estes said at least 18 times protesters threw objects and launched explosives at officers.

Nine dispersal orders were issued and that was when officers used riot control agents.

[‘Devoid of violence’: Protesters, police work together during passionate uptown marches]

A judge had issued a temporary restraining order stopping CMPD from using chemical agents except to prevent looting. But, Friday’s ruling allows the department to use chemical agents again and denied civil rights groups request for a preliminary injunction.

The ACLU disagrees with the ruling.

“We disagree with today’s ruling and are evaluating next steps,” the ACLU said in a statement. “The brutal attacks perpetrated against demonstrators by CMPD were inexcusable and we will continue to demand accountability and reform. Charlotte officials can take the first step by divesting from militarized police tactics and banning the use of chemical weaponry. The people of Charlotte deserve a government that protects our communities rather than terrorizes them. "

CMPD said its refraining from further comments, because other claims in the lawsuit are still pending in court.

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