CMPD Seizes 60 Vehicles for Alleged Street Racing
Following a multi-agency investigation that took place over six months, CMPD announced this week that the department has impounded 60 vehicles for alleged street racing and aggressive driving, an answer to concerns that residents have been voicing at Charlotte City Council meetings since last fall.
According to CMPD, the operation resulted in thousands of traffic stops and violations, ending early on Thursday morning with the arrest of 51 people for their alleged participation in pre-arranged street racing and the seizure of 60 vehicles that were allegedly used in the races.
According to a Thursday CMPD release and press conference, the department’s Transportation Division launched an operation in October 2020 after the number of complaints from local residents grew remarkably. Officers identified a large amount of activity involving pre-arranged car meet-ups that sometimes involved hundreds of vehicles happening near the I-485 and Prosperity Church Road interchange, then moved on to other areas of the city.
Over the next six months, officers with participating agencies made 2,500 traffic stops and issued nearly 3,500 violations. Among those violations were nearly 2,100 charges for speeding, 400 charges for reckless driving, 32 charges for driving while impaired and 10 charges for spontaneous racing violations.
After identifying suspects, CMPD worked with the Mecklenburg County District Attorney’s Office to file a grand-jury indictment and issue warrants against 54 suspects for the charge of pre-arranged street racing. In addition to making the arrests, the warrants also authorized the seizure of the respective vehicle used in the alleged offense.
North Carolina Reaches COVID-19 Vaccination Milestone
The North Carolina Department of Health & Human Services (NCDHHS) announced a milestone in the state’s fight against COVID-19 on Thursday, stating the number of adult residents aged 18 or older in North Carolina who have been at least partially vaccinated has surpassed 50%. According to NCDHHS, the state has administered more than 7.4 million vaccines. More than 40% of the adult population has been fully vaccinated, including more than 74% of the population aged 65 or older.
Locally, Mecklenburg County Public Health reported on Friday that more than 40% of the total population (453,726 residents) of Mecklenburg County had been at least partially vaccinated, which is in line with North Carolina’s numbers for total population including children. According to MCPH, 31.5% of Mecklenburg County’s total population (349,898 residents) have been at least partially vaccinated. Those numbers grew by .9% and 3%, respectively.
According to the latest data from MCPH, released Friday afternoon, there had been 110,605 total cases of COVID-19 and 954 deaths related to the coronavirus in the county to that point, an increase of 1,286 cases and nine deaths since the same time last week.
According to more in-depth data for cases that had occurred through Wednesday, the county had seen a 6% test-positivity rate over the previous week and an average of 179 laboratory confirmed infections per day, both decreasing trends compared to the previous two weeks. On average, 168 people were hospitalized on any given day due to COVID-19 over the past week, also a decreasing trend.
Rep. Adams Announces Landmark Legislation on HBCUs
Congresswoman Alma Adams (D-NC) of Charlotte joined Rep. French Hill and Sens. Tim Scott and Chris Coons on Friday to announce the Institutional Grants for New Infrastructure, Technology, and Education at HBCUs Act (IGNITE HBCU Excellence Act), which would signal the largest federal investment in the history of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs).
Aiming to rectify over a century of systemic neglect by investing in infrastructure at HBCUs, according to a Friday release, “the IGNITE HBCUs Act recognizes the contributions of these institutions in the most important way possible: by affording them the support and investment needed to deepen their transformational work.”
- Renovate, repair, modernize, or construct new campus facilities, including instructional, research, and residential spaces.
- Provide access to campus-wide, reliable high-speed broadband to support digital learning and long-term technological capacity.
- Develop campus facilities to support community-based partnerships that provide students and community members with academic, health, and social services.
- Procure equipment and technology needed to facilitate high-quality research and instruction.
- Preserve buildings with historic significance.
- And ensure the resilience, safety, and sustainability of campus facilities.
“The IGNITE HBCU Excellence Act is the most transformative legislation for Historically Black Colleges and Universities in history,” said Adams, founder and co-chair of the bipartisan HBCU Caucus. “For over 150 years, HBCUs have been agents of equity, access, and excellence in education, despite being ignored and marginalized by federal and state governments. This historic, bipartisan bill changes that. The IGNITE HBCU Excellence Act invests in our HBCU facilities to give students state-of-the-art learning environments and enables HBCUs to continue to be a critical source of diversity in the workforce for another century and beyond.”
City Manager Presents Recommended Budget
Charlotte City Manager Marcus Jones presented the recommended city budget for Fiscal Year 2022 at Monday night’s Charlotte City Council meeting, and we collected some key takeaways from his hour-long presentation for our Council Quickies newsletter, which you can sign up for here.
Jones announced that he is recommending an increase in the minimum salary for full-time city employees to $38,090, or 60% of the average median income for Charlotte. This would affect 143 employees including street crews with Charlotte Department of Transportation and workers with the waste and water departments. The budget would also include raises for city council members and the mayor, bringing them in line with their counterparts on the Mecklenburg Board of County Commissioners.
The city will end Fiscal Year 2021 with a more than $14-million surplus. The total proposed budget is $2.4 billion, including $750.7 million in general fund expenditures, pictured below.
A public hearing will be held on Monday, May 10, for feedback from residents on the budget. A budget adjustments meeting is scheduled for May 19, and the adoption of the budget is scheduled for June 14. All budget committee meetings are and will continue to be live-streamed on YouTube and social media. A calendar of city meetings can be found here.
Teenager Shot in East Charlotte
There were no homicides in Charlotte this week, though a 15-year-old boy suffered a near-death experience when he was shot multiple times on Wednesday night, though it appears he will survive. According to a CMPD release, an officer patrolling the area near the intersection of Eastway Drive and The Plaza heard multiple gunshots and began searching the area at around 10:30 p.m. Wednesday night.
He came across a 15-year-old victim bleeding heavily in the Shoppes at Citiside shopping center, then applied tourniquets while they waited for MEDIC. In the meantime, staff at the Real-Time Crime Center observed a silver Ford Fusion fleeing the scene at a high rate of speed and the Aviation Unit located the vehicle. Once officers in patrol cars found the suspect vehicle and initiated a traffic stop on Countryside Drive, four occupants jumped out of the car and ran. Officers detained two juveniles without incident, while two others remain outstanding.
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