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5 Things To Know: ALE, CMPD Give Conflicting Messages on Alcohol Enforcement

...and four more stories from Aug. 16-22, 2020

Officers with CMPD’s Alcohol Beverage Control Unit visited more than 50 private bars this week to clarify the guidelines concerning onsite alcohol sales, consumption and enforcement during the COVID-19 pandemic, but many owners were only left more confused after officers told them things that conflicted with what state officials have said. 

According to Lezlie Briggs, co-owner of 1501 South Mint in the Wilmore neighborhood, a CMPD ABC officer told her on Thursday night that she is not allowed to have people consuming alcohol on the property, which has been a consistent rule for private bars and clubs since the beginning of Phase 2. However, he also told her that the business couldn’t operate in any capacity, not even to sell beer or wine to go. 

alcohol enforcement
Owners at 1501 South Mint have gotten mixed message about alcohol enforcement. (Photo courtesy of Lezlie Briggs)

Owners at Hattie’s Tap & Tavern and Tommy’s Pub made social media posts stating that they were told similar things. On the latest episode of our Nooze Hounds podcast, Jackie DeLoach of Hattie’s Tap & Tavern told us that to-go beer sales and donations have kept her business afloat when there are not many other options for her to consider. “ALE is now stopping by and telling Private Clubs they aren’t allowed to sell to go beer and that we are supposed to be 100% closed. September will be 6 months closed,” DeLoach wrote in a Facebook post on Thursday. “How the hell do they expect us to make money and pay the damn light bill with zero income for that long?” 

Queen City Nerve reached out to CMPD about the alcohol enforcement issue, and the department sent a statement reading, “Attorneys with the State ABC Commission have advised the CMPD that private bars are restricted from onsite alcohol sales and onsite consumption under the Governor’s Order.” 

Erin Bean, special agent and spokesperson for the North Carolina Department of Public Safety’s Alcohol Law Enforcement (ALE) division, told us that, despite what CMPD’s ABC officers have been saying, off-premise sales such as beer and wine to go is still allowed under the governor’s orders.

“While on-premise consumption has been restricted, off-premise sales of beer and/or wine have been permitted throughout the Governor’s Executive Orders,” Bean wrote in an email. “A business holding an on-premise (beer or wine) permit allows the retail sale of beer/wine for consumption on the premises and the retail sale of beer/wine to-go in the manufacturers original sealed container for off-premise consumption (as long as the purchaser has a valid ID, is over 21 years old, and is not intoxicated).” 

At a press conference on Friday, CMPD Deputy Chief Jeff Estes said the department is working “to ensure we have a good message for all of our business owners and that we’re saying the same thing.” Queen City Nerve will follow-up with more coverage on alcohol enforcement in the coming days. 

Heal Charlotte to Turn Hotel Into Affordable Housing

Heal Charlotte founder Greg Jackson announced the launch of a $10 million capital campaign this week to acquire and renovate a motel on Reagan Drive and transform it into a mixed-use transitional living complex. The future Heal Charlotte campus will be located where an Economy Inn now sits on the 5500 block of Reagan Drive. The  current 31,000-square-foot, 132-room property on 2.69 acres will undergo a major upfit to create affordable one- and two-bedroom units leased to families in need. In addition to housing, the Heal Charlotte campus will provide residents with food, ongoing mentorship and case managers to assist in transitioning out of the facility.

A rendering of the planned Heal Charlotte housing site on Reagan Drive. (Courtesy of Heal Charlotte)

Jackson aims to purchase the property by the end of the year and anticipates six to 10 months of construction. The redevelopment will happen in phases and will not displace any of the families currently living in the hotel. 

“We are showing Charlotte what can be done if we are willing to invest in its people,” Jackson said in a statement. “This campus will provide a safe space for youth, affordable housing, job training, and supportive services. Our families will not merely survive here but really thrive.”

Multiple Arrests Made During First Night of RNC Protests

CMPD officers arrested four people during the first night of protests against the 2020 Republican National Convention currently being held in Charlotte. While the official convention does not begin until Monday, many delegates arrived in the city yesterday and attended RNC-related events in Uptown. 

Friday night’s protest began in Marshall Park at 8:30 p.m. Protesters marched into the city and would sometimes come into contact with bicycle police, with one person being arrested just after 10 p.m. for impeding traffic. For the most part things stayed relatively peaceful until just before 11 p.m., when protesters and police faced off at the intersection of Trade and Tryon streets. At that point, police began pepper spraying protesters in response to an alleged assault against an officer and arrested three people. 

Protests are planned for every night this weekend and into next week during the convention. Stay tuned to Queen City Nerve’s Facebook and Twitter feeds for coverage. 

COVID-19 Numbers Continue to Trend Down

According to the latest data released by Mecklenburg County Public Health on Friday, the total of COVID-19 cases in Mecklenburg County residents has reached 23,824 and resulted in 273 deaths. That’s an increase of 911 cases and 13 deaths since the same time last week. In-depth data regarding cases that had occurred through Aug. 20 showed the test-positivity rate was at 7%, a slight increase from the same time last week but a decrease over two weeks. The average number of people hospitalized on any given day due to COVID-19 in Mecklenburg County has also decreased over the past two weeks and is currently at 154. 

A look at test-positivity rates in Mecklenburg County over time. (Graph courtesy of Mecklenburg County Public Health)

 Triple Murder Adds to Charlotte Homicide Total

Three people were killed during a shooting in the Reid Park neighborhood in west Charlotte on Sunday night, kicking off a violent week that would end with six murders and bring the total number of homicides in Charlotte this year to 78.

Just before 10 p.m. on Sunday, officers responded to a shooting call on Reid Avenue near West Boulevard and found two men suffering from gunshot wounds. The victims were transported to the hospital by MEDIC, and officers later learned that a third victim was brought to the hospital by a third party. One of the men died that night, while another succumbed to his injuries early Monday morning. On Tuesday, the third victim also succumbed to his injuries. The victims are Keith Rivera, 29; Kawon Hoover, 28; and Jawuan Pressley, 22. 

Just after midnight on Tuesday, police responded to an assault call on East. W.T. Harris Boulevard in the Grove Park neighborhood of east Charlotte. Officers found 36-year-old Tyra McRae suffering from stab wounds. They rendered aid and she was transported to the hospital by MEDIC, but later died. Just before 2 a.m. that same morning, police responded to a shooting on Nations Ford Road near the I-77 junction and found two men suffering from gunshot wounds. MEDIC transported both men to the hospital, where one was later pronounced dead. His name has not yet been released. The second victim’s injuries were not life-threatening. 

Tyra McRae (Facebook)

At around 5:20 p.m. on Friday, police responded to reports of shots fired and people running from the scene at the Thorngrove Apartments in east Charlotte. Though they could not locate anyone at the scene, minutes later they responded to calls about 20-year-old Zion Garcia showing up to a nearby Valero convenience store on Albemarle Road. MEDIC transported Garcia to the hospital, where he later died. It was later found that Garcia was shot during the incident at Thorngrove. No arrests have been yet been announced for any of the above-mentioned murders. 

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