Charlotte Talks Local News Roundup: No Charges for CMPD Officer; Racist Letters to CLT Leaders

No charges will be filed for the Charlotte Mecklenburg Police officer who shot Danquirs Franklin at a Charlotte Burger King back in March. District Attorney Spencer Merriweather announced on Wednesday that Officer Wende Kerl will not face charges in connection with Franklin’s death.

Many black elected officials in Charlotte- including the mayor- received a racist letter this week that was addressed to city council, the county commission, police, fire and CMS School Board. The letter was directed to black Democrats and said that they should be “tarred and feathered and run out of town.” We’ll talk about reaction to the letter by several local leaders.

New CMS Superintendent Earnest Winston has a 3-year contract, which was announced earlier this month. But this week, school board members clarified that Winston could be fired with 60 days’ notice without giving a reason, making his job security not quite as strong as once thought. We’ll talk about what board chair Mary McCray said about it.

And an update on the push to pass a quarter-cent sales tax vote for the arts in Mecklenburg County.

Guests:

Mary C. Curtis, columnist for Rollcall.com and WCCB

Katie Peralta, reporter for Charlotte Agenda

David Boraks, reporter for WFAE 

Jonathan Lowe, reporter for Spectrum News 

Charlotte Talks Local News Roundup: NC Gerrymandering At SCOTUS; Deadly CMPD Shooting; CMS Budget

Charlotte grapples with another deadly police shooting. A CMPD officer shot and killed a man outside a Beatties Ford Road restaurant Monday morning. Police say the man had a gun and posed a threat, but protestors paint a different story.

The long-awaited Mueller report has been handed over. South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham says it removes a cloud over the president, and now he wants to investigate the FBI for possible anti-Trump bias.

The U.S. Supreme Court once again sounds reluctant to take a stance on partisan gerrymandering as the justices hear arguments over North Carolina’s congressional map.

An official in the Charlotte Catholic Diocese resigned following an allegation of sexual misconduct.

Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools superintendent Clayton Wilcox seeks a big increase in county funding for the school system, with a focus on teacher pay and the district’s racial disparities.

Also this week, wheels are in motion in the South Carolina legislature to lure the Carolina Panthers headquarters across the state line. Lawmakers gave an initial okay for millions in tax breaks.

Those stories and more on this week’s Local News Roundup.

Guests

Mary C Curtis, columnist for Rollcall.com and WCCB

Jonathan Lowe, reporter for Spectrum News

Steve Harrison, WFAE’s political reporter

Glenn Burkins, editor and publisher of Q City Metro

Charlotte Talks Local News Roundup: BB&T and SunTrust Merge; No New Funds for Cross CLT Trail

Monday night’s City Council meeting brought with it suggestions on how to finish the Cross Charlotte Trail, which has come up $77 million short in funding, but the new plan left council members frustrated. We talk about the proposed solution and council member reactions.

BB&T and SunTrust Bank announced Thursday that the two banks would merge and move their new headquarters to Charlotte. What are the implications of this merger here and around the Southeast?

Charlotte City Council plans to vote next week on whether they’ll start the referendum process to extend their terms from two to four years. We discuss what council members said about the process.

United Way is experiencing budget problems, with plans to cut grants by 25 percent and cutting $1 million from its yearly budget. The reasons for the cuts go back several years.

Governor Cooper calls for the resignation of Virginia Governor Ralph Northam after a racist 1984 yearbook picture surfaced.

Guest host David Boraks from WFAE News and our roundtable of reporters discuss those and other stories.

Guests:

Ann Doss Helms, reporter for the Charlotte Observer

Glenn Burkins, founder and publisher of QCityMetro.com 

Mary C. Curtis, columnist for Rollcall.com and WCCB

Steve HarrisonWFAE political reporter

Opinion: In Reaching for Deals, Will Parties Overlook Certain American Voices?

“He likes us,” Senate Democratic leader Charles Schumer said of his fellow New Yorker Donald Trump last week. This was after “Chuck” joined “Nancy” — House Democratic leader Pelosi from California — in a White House gathering that resulted in a deal on DACA reform, unless it didn’t.

Whatever the interpretation of what happened during that chummy get-together, and there was a different one for every person who attended or heard about it first, second or thirdhand, the president reportedly reveled in the relief of positive headlines that followed.

Charlotte Marks One-Year Anniversary of Keith Scott Shooting

CHARLOTTE, NC — Charlotte is marking the one year anniversary of the deadly police shooting of Keith Lamont Scott and the days of unrest that followed. Hundreds of people stormed the streets of uptown in protest after CMPD Officer Brentley Vinsonshot and killed Scott, September 20th, 2016.

Scott’s death has since sparked concerns about race, equality, and opportunity in the Queen City as well as CMPD’s lack of transparency with the community. The situation also sent Charlotte into what many believe was long overdue conversation about race and social mobility in the city.

Political Contributor, Mary C. Curtis talks about the challenges Charlotte still faces a year later, what needs to be done in order to heal, and what community-police relations look like in Charlotte today.

Opinion: The Rule of Law, the Role of History

It was as predictable as clockwork. When I worked at a newspaper in Tucson, Ariz., the letter would arrive or the phone would ring and the message would be filled with outrage and surprise. Imagine being in a store or on the street and hearing two or more people having a conversation — in Spanish.

The spanking new desert denizen— just arrived from Michigan or Minnesota or somewhere else where it got cold in the winter — could not understand a word and this is America, right?

Citizens Review Board Hears Keith Scott Case

CHARLOTTE, NC — The Charlotte Citizens Review Board (CRB) is holding closed hearings this week to take another look at the evidence and circumstance surrounding last year’s fatal police shooting of Keith Lamont Scott.

The board will decide if the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department was wrong when it decided Officer Brentley Vinson followed the department use of force policy when he killed Scott. The District Attorney determined that the shooting was justified

Scott’s death sparked protests and violent riots across Charlotte.

There has been calls for decades for the CRB to have more power. They can make recommendations to adjust police training, policy and procedures, but cannot reverse the decision by Chief Kerr Putney and the DA not to charge Officer Vinson.

If the CRB decides the shooting isn’t justified, the Chief Putney and the City Manager will re-evaluate the case.

Is this the kind of case that could lead to the CRB getting more authority?

Political Contributor, Mary Curtis weighs in.

Opinion: Trump’s Ratings Hold Steady, but Is He Losing Key Groups He Needs to Stay on Top?

“You’re fired!” was the reality show refrain of the now president of the United States, Donald Trump. So when, on the campaign trail, candidate Trump said, “I alone can fix it,” with “it” meaning whatever was ailing the country and each one of its citizens, it was easy to for someone looking for answers to transfer his my-way-or-the-highway TV decisiveness to Oval Office success.

Could “The Apprentice” boss have bought into his own hype on the way to the White House, forgetting the behind-the-scenes writers and producers, and the reality of life after the director yells, “Cut”?

Journalist Mary C. Curtis on Police Brutality

Journalist Mary C. Curtis is an award-winning multimedia journalist in Charlotte, North Carolina. She has worked at The New York Times, the Charlotte Observer, as a national correspondent for Politics Daily, and as a contributor to the Washington Post.

One of her areas of expertise is the topic of police brutality, especially as it pertains to the lives of Black women and men across the nation. She joined KSFR’s Mya Green by phone to discuss the history of police violence in America and the current state of affairs.

Jeff Sessions-Style Policing Makes Everyone Less Safe

The Trump administration is most comfortable with power and the powerful.

On the world stage, this attitude has taken the form of a relationship with Russia’s Vladimir Putin that is cozier than ones with traditional allies such as Germany’s Angela Merkel. That sentiment trickles down within America’s borders, as well, to Trump’s words on policing, where for the self-proclaimed “law and order” president, force wins out over conciliatory tactics every time — including in his own “get ’em out of here” rally cries that have resulted in his own legal headaches.

It’s no surprise, then, that Attorney General Jeff Sessions is following the Trump lead.