CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Charlotte city leaders are not talking more than 24 hours after a witness sent Channel 9 video of a Charlotte-Mecklenburg police officer punching a hit-and-run suspect while he was trying to arrest him.
They have been advised to limit their comment until CMPD conducts its investigation into allegations the officer used excessive force.
City Manager Ron Carlee sent an email to the mayor and City Council Tuesday that included talking points like "CMPD has demonstrated its commitment to holding officers accountable" and "officers are entitled to a full and fair investigation."
The video shows several officers holding Malcolm Elliott on the ground. Police said Elliott was involved in a hit-and-run crash Tuesday morning on Monroe Road. In a news release, police said Elliott was intoxicated and was not cooperating with police when they tried to handcuff him after chasing him on foot.
It also said Elliott did not request or require medical treatment.
Police officers involved in the incident had body-worn cameras. Channel 9 asked to see the video captured but CMPD said it's not considered a public record under North Carolina law.
State Rep. Rodney Moore, a Democrat from Mecklenburg County, said he may look into drafting legislation to allow for more transparency.
"I think that was the intent for the body-worn cameras, which is to kind of stop behind that wall and have more transparency for the public," Moore said. "I would be interested in looking at the statute that they are talking about to see if we can amend it or what we can do to get more transparency."
Moore said the more concerning issue is the perception the video gives.
"This officer looks like he lost his cool," Moore said.
The police department has not said who the officer is in the video or whether anyone is on leave during the investigation. That could take up to 45 days to complete.
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