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5 Things to Know: New Law Abolishes Burdensome Membership Rule at Bars

...and four more stories from July 3-9, 2022

Bars like 1501 South Mint will no longer need to require memberships to serve patrons after Gov. Roy Cooper signed a new ABC Omnibus package into law
Bars like 1501 South Mint will no longer need to require memberships to serve patrons after Gov. Roy Cooper signed a new ABC Omnibus package into law. (Photo courtesy of Lezlie Briggs)

New Law Abolishes Burdensome Membership Rule at Bars

Gov. Roy Cooper signed a slew of bills into law on Thursday, including one abolishing a membership rule that had long been seen as burdensome for local bars and that the NC Bar Owners Association (NCBOA) said was “rooted in racist beginnings designed to legally discriminate against people of color.” 

The previous law designated any bar that doesn’t serve food — or make enough of its gross income from food sales — as a “private club” and mandated that customers become paid members before they could be served alcohol. That meant customers at Charlotte bars like NoDa 101, Hattie’s Tap & Tavern or 1501 South Mint had to pay a nominal fee, have their ID scanned and give their phone numbers before they could be served.

“This may not seem like a big deal but it’s been a massive regulatory burden on bars all across North Carolina and its repeal is long overdue,” read a release from the NCBOA on July 1 after the North Carolina General Assembly approved the law, which is part of a larger ABC Omnibus package. 

Formed during the pandemic, the NCBOA announced in May that it was working with legislators to introduce reforms to North Carolina alcohol laws, though the organization didn’t get everything they were fighting for this legislative session.

The NCBOA also wants to reinstate happy-hour drink deals for bar patrons across the state. Current laws state that bars are only allowed to offer drink specials that last throughout the day as opposed to offering specials for a designated time span. They also want the state to allow bars and restaurants to discount prices for single drinks, sell multiple drinks for one price, offer food-and-beverage combo pricing, and advertise those specials outside their premises.


Texas Man Faces Slew of Charges Following Chase

Many Charlotte residents, and even plenty of folks nationwide, were glued to their TVs and social media feeds on Wednesday during a police pursuit that stretched throughout Charlotte and saw multiple wrecks, carjackings and even some attempted vigilante justice, all on live TV.

According to CMPD, it all started with a call at around 10 a.m. on Wednesday in which an east Charlotte woman reported that her Jeep was stolen from her residence. Later that day, police tracked the vehicle to a McDonald’s on South Tryon Street using GPS. They attempted to approach the driver, later identified as 26-year-old Tyler Harding, but he fled. According to CMPD, “Officers did not pursue the Jeep but monitored the vehicle’s location and driver’s behavior using the CMPD helicopter.”

Harding drove to southwest Charlotte, where he reportedly abandoned the Jeep and met up with his sister, who appeared to be waiting for him on Orchard Circle in a stolen white pick-up truck. With his sister riding passenger, the suspect then drove the truck into South Carolina, where Lancaster Sheriff’s deputies failed to stop him, then back into NC, where he pulled into a Walmart parking lot and hopped into a car that had been left running in the curbside pickup area.

Harding would later wreck that car into another at an intersection on Johnston Road. He approached the driver of the vehicle he had just struck, who turned out to be a pregnant woman with minor injuries, and while it’s unclear whether he was trying to carjack that person or check on her wellbeing as he later claimed in court, he eventually hopped into a black Infinity SUV belonging to a woman who appeared to have left her vehicle to help victims of the crash.

It was then that a civilian in a pick-up truck began to ram the back of the SUV in an attempt to stop the vehicle on Park Road near East Woodlawn Road, disabling the civilian’s truck. The attempt failed and the civilian driver was later cited for driving without a license. The suspect eventually crashed the stolen Infinity into another SUV to end the pursuit at the intersection of South and East boulevards. The suspect surrendered to police and was transported to the hospital for minor injuries. He faces numerous felonies stemming from the incident. 

During a virtual hearing on Friday, Harding stood from his chair and said “Fuck this” when told his bond was being increased from $115,000 to $800,000. Harding, who reportedly only recently arrived in Charlotte from Texas with his sister, asked the judge if it would be OK to lie at any point in the process, to which the judge responded Harding should not say another word until he was assigned an attorney. 


Gov. Cooper Signs Executive Order Protecting Abortion Access

Joined by Planned Parenthood Action Fund president Alexis McGill Johnson and other state reproductive care advocates, Gov. Roy Cooper on Wednesday signed Executive Order No. 263, which aims to help protect North Carolina doctors and nurses and their patients in the wake of the Dobbs decision that overturned Roe v Wade

The order directs state agencies to coordinate to protect reproductive health-care services in North Carolina and states that those agencies cannot require a pregnant state employee to travel to a state where there are not protections for the health of the pregnant person. It directs the Department of Public Safety to work with law enforcement to ensure enforcement of a state law that prohibits anyone from blocking access to a health-care facility.

NC COVID restrictions
Gov. Roy Cooper at a press conference in 2021. (Photo courtesy of Gov. Cooper’s Office)

The order also provides protections against extradition for those seeking or providing reproductive health-care services in North Carolina and prohibits agencies from cooperating in investigations initiated by other states into anyone obtaining or providing reproductive health care that is legal in North Carolina.

“The Supreme Court ripped away the constitutional right to reproductive freedom that women have relied on for five decades,” Cooper said in a release on Wednesday. “For now, it’s up to the states to determine whether women get reproductive health care, and in North Carolina they still can, thanks to my veto and enough legislative votes to sustain it. I am determined to keep it that way and people need to know that their votes in state legislative races this November will determine the fate of women’s health and freedom in our state.”


CMS Middle Schools to Implement Metal Detectors

CMS Superintendent Hugh Hattabaugh announced in a statement to CMS families this week that the district will begin installing metal detectors in elementary and middle schools during the 2022-23 school year. The district already began installing the Evolv body scanners in high schools during the spring of 2022. There were reportedly scanners in at least 21 CMS high schools by the end of the 2021-22 school year. 

There were 30 guns confiscated from students in CMS schools during the 2021-22 school year, which ended in June. Four of those were in elementary or middle schools. 

“The sale of guns nationwide has almost doubled since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Guns were the leading cause of death for children and teens in 2020, surpassing injuries from vehicle crashes, drug overdoses or cancer,” Hattabaugh wrote in the statement. “Locally, the number of weapons confiscated reached an all-time high last year, including the confiscation of four firearms in the last semester at K-8 and middle schools.” 

“The installation of the Evolv body scanners in our high schools has proven to be effective in deterring weapons in our schools in the second semester. We will continue the rollout of scanners to the remaining CMS high schools as well as a plan to reach our middle and K-8 schools,” he continued. 


Woman Arrested for Abuse of Disabled Adult, Murder

Three people were murdered in Charlotte this week, and on Saturday morning police announced the arrest of a woman who has been charged with murder and abuse of a disabled adult following the death of a man in south Charlotte in June. 

According to a CMPD release on Saturday morning, police responded to a death investigation call on Heathstead Place in the Heathstead condominium community of south Charlotte on June 20 and found 50-year-old Kimberly Mackey in need of medical treatment. Medic transported Mackey to the hospital while police officers entered a residence, where they found 35-year-old Bradford Womack dead of unknown causes. 

After further investigation and consultation with the Medical Examiner’s Officer, CMPD determined that Womack was murdered, and Mackey was charged with concealing his death. Once Mackey was released from the hospital, she was transported to CMPD headquarters to be questioned, and was eventually charged with first-degree murder and abuse of a disabled adult by confining/restraining causing serious injury. 

 

A 27-year-old man was shot and killed at the Pinnacle Point shopping center in University City early Tuesday morning. According to CMPD, police responded to a shooting call on Pinnacle Drive shortly after 1 a.m. on Tuesday and found Fuaad Ali, 27, suffering from multiple gunshot wounds. Medic transported Ali to the hospital, where he later died. Social media posts claimed the shooting occurred inside or stemmed from an incident that began at Paparazzi CLT, which is located in the shopping center.

Another young man was reportedly murdered in west Charlotte later that day. Just before 5 p.m., police responded to a shooting call in The Mezzanine at Freedom apartment complex at the corner of Camp Greene Street and Freedom Drive, where they found 19-year-old Yimere Joyner dead from a gunshot wound. Police later arrested an 18-year-old man and charged him with murder, armed robbery and conspiracy to commit robbery. 

A boy was found dead of a gunshot wound in north Charlotte early on Thursday morning, though it’s unsure when exactly he was killed. According to CMPD, officers responded to a check-the-welfare call for service on Sofley Road near Derita Creek Park, where they found 17-year-old Vladimir Garcia dead of a gunshot wound. 


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