Review Says CMPD 'Acted Appropriately' In Protests, But Needs Improvement
CMPD and the City of Charlotte say they're studying a consultant's recommendations for changes in police training, transparency and other policies. Those came in a report from The Police Foundation of Washington, D.C., hired by the city after demonstrations following the fatal police shooting of a black man last year.
Overall, the group says CMPD "acted appropriately" and followed its own procedures as it responded to protests over the killing of Keith Scott one year ago. The draft report doesn't address the shooting itself - the city didn't ask for it in the $380,000 review.
Reviewers criticized Mayor Jennifer Roberts for inconsistent messaging on social media and media interviews during the protests - for example, criticizing Chief Kerr Putney’s decision not to release police camera footage. They say that contributed to "a media whirlwind."
The report includes 35 recommendations in areas such as crowd management, equipment, de-escalation training, and public information. CMPD is already doing some, such as developing programs to improve dialogue with the community and boosting its use of social media.
The report doesn’t criticize CMPD directly for using riot gear and military-style equipment during the protests, but says that could escalate tension. It recommends re-evaluating that policy, as well as how CMPD handles crowds.
The report also notes that state laws rule out some changes that critics and CMPD have sought - such as subpoena power for the Citizens Review Board.
Activist Robert Dawkins of SAFE Coalition NC called the report "weak."
"We were let down on the community involvement piece, when they put this report together. That was one. Secondly, I don't think they put enough work into it to justify $400,000 from the city," he said.
Dawkins said he was invited to join a community stakeholders committee as part of the review, but it never met.
A city spokeswoman wasn't sure when a final version of the report will be done, or whether it might come up at the city council.
READ THE REPORT
Sept. 19, 2017, CharlotteNC.gov, full draft report of The Police Foundation
Sept. 19, 2017, CharlotteNC.gov press release, "City of Charlotte releases the Police Foundation's draft of the critical incident review."
See a one-year-anniversary special report on the Keith Lamont Scott killing.