Charlotte, NC FOX46 - Days after it was announced Officer Brentley Vinson would not be charged in the death of Keith Scott, a townhall meeting allowed Charlotteans to speak directly to city leaders.
Councilwoman Claire Fallon planned the townhall meeting to hear from the public, introduce the new city manager and promote healthy dialogue. Dozens turned out to the Q&A.
When asked about the number of police shootings and whether training was the issue, CMPD Chief Kerr Putney replied, “there’s so many issues involved in a human interaction. The nuances that we’re talking about and working through and it’s not training it’s more of an education. I can train you to do the basics of the job, you have to come with some inherent reasons of wanting to do it and preserve life.”
Chief Putney said it is critical that people know the law, “If you put a weapon down and you show your hands and you comply, it’s against the law for us to use deadly force against you. I’m saying use the law, be informed, get educated.”
Councilwoman Fallon said townhall meetings are a way to keep an open dialogue and work on transparency, which she believes is the only way to move forward. “We had an incident, it has to go away, we have to cure it and we will cure it this is our city,” said Fallon.
Fallon declined to comment on the death of Keith Scott because the family could file a civil suit against the city. She did however; say people just want to feel safe. “Police it so that nobody feels unsafe in their house or in their city or in a parking lot or in a mall, that’s the first thing. The most important thing is public safety,” said Fallon.
Greg Jackson stepped forward to build a bridge with officers during the September protests. He said moving the city forward starts with making a personal change. “Keep an open mind, be ready to have open dialogue and embrace the debate, don’t be scared of it. Everybody has a different opinion. Everybody’s not going to think like you, especially if you’re from a different side of the tracks,” said Jackson.
Fallon said, the government can't hide from having tough conversations and the protests were a sign that the public was tired of the same old thing.