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5 Things To Know: Judge Decides in Protest Case Against CMPD

...and four other top stories from July 19-25, 2020

Judge Denies Tear-Gas Injunction in Lawsuit Against CMPD

In a hearing on Friday, Superior Court Judge George Bell denied a request for a preliminary injunction against CMPD and dissolved a temporary restraining order against the department prohibiting them from deploying riot-control agents (RCAs) such as tear gas to disperse crowds. 

Groups including the local NAACP and ACLU filed the original lawsuit that led to the June 19 restraining order, claiming that their rights to peacefully assemble had been violated during recent protests in response to the murder of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer. [Full disclosure: Queen City Nerve publisher Justin LaFrancois is listed as a plaintiff in the suit, though not in association with Queen City Nerve.] The suit specifically cites the incident on June 2 in which officers trapped protesters in a city block with tear gas and fired on them with pepper balls from above. 

In Friday’s ruling, Judge Bell recalled North Carolina’s legal definition of a riot as a public disturbance involving an assemblage of three or more persons which, by disorderly and violent conduct, results in injury or damage to persons or property or creates a clear and present danger of injury or damage to persons or property.” Bell then cited evidence of at least three incidences of violence against police officers leading up to the June 2 ambush, making it a riot, despite the fact that the protests that night “were mainly peaceful and most individuals were  protesting their grievances lawfully.”

Judge Bell recognized that parts of a State Bureau of Investigations (NCSBI) report on the June 2 incident, specifically the claim that protesters were left two clear paths to escape, may be untrue, but are not means for a preliminary injunction, which would extend the restraining order against RCAs indefinitely. Bell suggested that the plaintiffs pursue their claims in a separate lawsuit. 

“This court has reservations about the NCSBIs conclusions on whether the crowd had clear paths to escape, noting viability to this claim; however, even if the plaintiffsdue process rights were violated … this Court finds no irreparable injury and the plaintiffs that were injured or sustained damages have an adequate remedy at law and therefore a preliminary injunction is not the appropriate remedy,” Bell wrote. 


Four County Staff Members Test Positive for COVID-19

Mecklenburg County Public Health announced on Friday that four members of the county’s Park and Recreation department’s aquatic staff tested positive for COVID-19 on Thursday, stating that officials “have not identified significant risk of exposure to the public.” 

According to WSOC’s Joe Bruno, the positive party consisted of two supervisors and two lifeguards who rotate between the Mecklenburg County Aquatic Center and the Double Oaks pool. Officials do not believe any of the infected people contracted the virus at either venue, and neither pool will close. 

(Graph courtesy of Mecklenburg County Public Health)

According to the most recent data released on Friday morning, there have now been 18,401 confirmed cases of COVID-19 among Mecklenburg County residents, an increase of more than 2,200 cases since the same time last week. There were also 12 deaths in the past week, putting the total at 187.

According to data from the cases that had occurred through Wednesday, the average number of COVID-19 patients to be hospitalized in Mecklenburg County on any given day is nearing 200 and slowly increasing (pictured above). During the past week, an average of 10.9% of individuals who were tested were positive for COVID-19. This represents a stable trend over the last 14 days, according to county health officials. 


Charlotte MLS Team Has a Name

Just days after announcing it will push back its inaugural season from 2021 until 2022, Charlotte’s new Major League Soccer team announced on Wednesday that it will be called Charlotte Football Club, or CLT FC for short, leading to jokes from soccer fans around the country who have apparently never flown into Charlotte Douglas International Airport. 

The team also unveiled two logos, with the primary logo being a black, blue and white crest with a crown inside, and a secondary logo that is something else entirely. 

The club’s secondary logo.

“Charlotte FC is part of an exciting new era for sports in Charlotte and the Carolinas. Today’s unveiling of our name, colors and crest will be remembered as one of the most exciting days in our club’s history,” said Tom Glick, president of Tepper Sports and Entertainment, on Wednesday. 


Trump Cancels RNC in Jacksonville After Moving From Charlotte

Six weeks after announcing that he would move the major aspects of the upcoming Republican National Convention from Charlotte to Jacksonville, Florida, due to restrictions on crowd size in North Carolina, President Donald Trump announced on Thursday that he will have to cancel the convention in Jacksonville due to spikes in COVID-19 infections there and throughout Florida. 

(Photo by Gage Skidmore)

The announcement sparked concern that Trump may try to scale up events still planned for Charlotte, where hundreds of delegates are scheduled to meet for the business portion of the convention on Aug. 24. It appears at this time, however, that while the business aspect will go on as planned here, the main part of the convention will be held virtually as “tele-rallies,” according to Trump’s announcement. 

“At the RNC’s request we have been preparing and planning for a scaled-down RNC event. We have committed to hosting a scaled down event and that is what we are going to do,” Mayor Vi Lyles tweeted on Friday. “The city does not intend to and will not incur any costs in support of the convention beyond the reduced budget, which was approved by the Department of Justice.” 


Four Murders Put Yearly Total at 66

Four people were murdered in Charlotte this week, bringing the total number of homicides in the city this year to 66. At 2:20 p.m. on Tuesday, police responded to a shooting call on West Boulevard in front of the YMCA and found two gunshot victims, one man with a non-life-threatening wound to his leg and another with and another man suffering from a gunshot wound in a car. Paramedics and police tried to save 23-year-old Tykari Brown with CPR and other live-saving measures, but he was pronounced dead on the scene. No one has yet been arrested for his murder. 

Tykari Brown

Just after 5 p.m. that afternoon, police responded to a shooting call in a parking lot on West Sugar Creek Road in the Derita neighborhood of north Charlotte and found 29-year-old Katie Eckerd shot in a car. She was transported to a nearby hospital, where she later died. During the investigation, police pulled over a car they believed to be involved with the murder and took three people into custody: 22-year-old Maquez Williamson, 25-year-old Bricard Washington and a 16-year-old boy. After interviewing the suspects, police charged all three with murder, three counts of attempted robbery with a dangerous weapon, and conspiracy to commit robbery with a dangerous weapon.  Additionally, the juvenile male was also charged with three counts of malicious conduct by a prisoner.

Katie Eckerd (Photo courtesy of Gunmemorial.org)

Just after 7:35 a.m. on Thursday, police responded to a shooting call on McGregor Drive in Mint Hill near the Union County line and found 48-year-old Michael Deseve dead of a gunshot wound. Police took 36-year-old John Odea into custody at the scene and later charged him with Deseve’s murder. 

Just before 9 p.m. on Friday night, police responded to a shooting call at the Fish Hut Arcade on Wilkinson Boulevard in west Charlotte and found a man dead of a gunshot wound. His name has not yet been released. 

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