Charlotte Clergy Speak Out On Policing Concerns
A group of concerned faith leaders in Charlotte shared a list of demands for change regarding policing in the city. During a press conference Monday, clergy members said they are concerned about what public safety looks like in the wake of recent civil unrest.
The group outlined 16 demands, one being that Charlotte City Council ensures residents and clergy will be involved in the hiring of the city’s next police chief.
The group also wants more mental health resources for police officers and to defund and abolish the use of tear gas, pepper balls, pepper spray and all other chemical agents by Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department.
The Rev. Peter Wherry read from the list outside the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Government Center in uptown.
He pointed out this is not a call to defund the police but rather to rethink how the city allocates its money for programs and other resources.
Rabbi Dusty Klass said constructive Zoom meetings between clergy members and city officials have been ongoing for the last month and a half since the list was given to city leaders.
"Part of the reason for this press conference was that the things that happen in closed Zoom rooms do not make it to the media," she said. "If no one knows this is happening, no one can call on these city officials to continue paying attention and to hold them accountable to think about how these are being met or not being met."
Klass said the conversations are a good start, but that she hopes the work continues with more transparency and accountability.