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Letter from our Executive Director to Mayor Vi Lyles, the Charlotte City Council, and the City Manager's Office

Last night, the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department utilized tactics to trap peaceful protesters on 4th street and fired chemical agents on the residents of our city. I was beyond disgusted but not surprised. Attacking individuals who are peacefully exercising their right to protest is unacceptable, but this is not the first time. The CMPD has a long history of racial profiling, targeting black and brown communities, utilizing excessive use of force, and the murder of unarmed and cooperative people of color. 

Our community has demanded that action be taken, now and in the past, but to no avail. To clarify, immediate action is not another ‘task force’, ‘town hall’, or ‘community discussion’. We’ve talked enough and now it’s time for action. Immediate action includes but is not limited to, the demilitarization of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department, the immediate termination of the police officers involved in last night’s incident and the plethora of previous incidents of abuse of power, and policies and protocols that redefine what is deemed acceptable when attempting to ‘uphold the law’. We need a complete overhaul and transformation of our local police department. 

It is incumbent upon the City Council and the City Manager’s Officer to ensure that our residents feel safe. The historic behavior of the CMPD is the antithesis of ‘protect and serve’ and we should not settle for anything less than the demands of our community listed above. We claim to be an inclusive city, but our actions say otherwise. Actions always speak louder than words and you have the power to make these changes now. We hope that you will do the right thing. 

Jorge Millares

Queen City Unity

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