Everyone’s been wrapped up in the Mueller report all week, but there’s been a lot of news right here at home. We’ve got you covered with five stories we’ve been paying attention to, and none of them are redacted.
The Charlotte City Council’s Neighborhood Development Committee approved an update to the city’s noise ordinance policy on Wednesday, in a move that some hope will be a step in calming continued harassment at A Preferred Women’s Health Clinic (APWHC) in east Charlotte. The new update will prohibit amplified sound and “unreasonable noise” within 200 feet of medical facilities, places of worship and schools. APWHC is the focal point of Charlotte-based anti-abortion group Love Life’s 40-week “journey of hope,” in which protesters gather outside the clinic on Saturday mornings to pray, sing religious songs and preach, often with microphones and amplifiers. The clinic sees about 25 protesters a day, with thousands showing up for Love Life’s events. According to Calla Hales, executive director at APWHC, more than 18,000 protesters in total rallied outside the clinic in 2018.
Daniel Parks, executive director of the anti-abortion group Cities For Life in Charlotte, which is regularly outside of APWHC, told the Charlotte Observer the update will be challenged in court if approved by the city council.
Hales told Queen City Nerve she’s excited to read the new ordinance, while addressing anti-abortion advocates’ claims that the update will infringe upon their freedom of speech. “I believe that these changes will not only be beneficial for us at the clinic, but for Charlotte as a whole as this city continues to grow. I strongly believe that these changes do not infringe on anyone’s rights to free speech — a guaranteed audience was not included in that [First] Amendment as far as I remember.”
The Charlotte Observer reported on Thursday that the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department released only a small portion of the body camera footage that captured the shooting death of Danquirs Franklin by CMPD officer Wende Kerl on March 25. On Monday, the department released a video of the shooting that was two minutes and 20 seconds long, but a city attorney later confirmed to the Observer that the footage from Kerl’s camera lasts around 11 minutes. Multiple news organizations have since petitioned for the release of the full video.
Members of the department made conflicting statements throughout the week regarding whether there was more footage and why only the clip was released, until it became known that city council had watched the entire 11-minute video on Monday. CMPD’s official Twitter account addressed the release with a statement that was sent as a reply to multiple tweets: “CMPD acted in good faith and in compliance with the law in releasing video Monday. However, moving forward, we will provide all BWC video of the petitioned incident to the presiding judge with recommendations for redaction. Our goal is responsible transparency for all involved.”
Democratic candidate for North Carolina’s 9th congressional candidate Dan McCready faced backlash this week after it was reported that he refunded a $2,000 donation from Democratic Rep. Ihlan Omar from Minnesota on March 30 following her comments about pro-Israel lobby groups that were then painted as anti-Semitic by Republicans and some Democrats. Omar has faced harassment and death threats since.
Omar’s donation was made to McCready’s campaign on Nov. 6, when both were still candidates. After facing criticism from supporters who saw McCready’s donation refund as turning his back on Omar while she was being attacked, McCready took to Twitter to address the situation, taking a stand against anti-Semitism, despite the fact that there was no anti-Semitism to be found in the first place.
“Some folks are asking why I directed the return of Rep. Omar’s donation. I did this weeks ago because I vigorously disagree with any anti-Semitic comments. Since this time, dangerous and hateful attacks have started against her,” McCready wrote. “I condemn in the strongest terms the hateful rhetoric against her, the Muslim community and people of color. Too many have been hurt by our broken politics. We must end hate speech against all people and groups.”
Gov. Roy Cooper vetoed the infamous Born Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act on Thursday, stopping the passage of a law that he said was “unnecessary” and “ill-advised.” Senate Bill 359 would have criminalized physicians who failed to provide life-saving care for fetuses that survive an unsuccessful abortion procedure, and are “born alive.”
The bill references “infanticide,” which is already criminalized in the state of North Carolina. On the legislative floor this week, supporters of the bill made references to incidents that occurred in the 1970s and a report published in 1981, though more recent research shows that instances in which babies are “born alive” are extremely rare, and most of those cases involved maternal complications or one or more congenital anomalies that caused the newborns to die within hours.
“Laws already protect newborn babies and this bill is an unnecessary interference between doctors and their patients,” Cooper said on Thursday. “This needless legislation would criminalize doctors and other healthcare providers for a practice that simply does not exist.”
Two homicides occurred in Charlotte this week, bringing the 2019 total to 39. At about 1 a.m. on Monday morning, police responded to a shooting call at the intersection of Hidden Valley and Sugar Creek roads and found two victims suffering from gunshot wounds. Jamil Davis was pronounced dead on the scene. Davis would have turned 21 tomorrow. The other victim was transported to the hospital where he was treated for a non-life-threatening gunshot wound to the wrist.
Later that morning, at around 8:20 a.m., police responded to a shooting call on The Plaza near Barrington Drive and found 22-year-old Hinyse Bittle dead in a vehicle.