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5 Things to Know: NC Bar Owners Association Lobbies for Alcohol Reform

...and four more stories from May 15-21, 2022

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alcohol enforcement, NC Bar Owners Association
Despite having a food menu, 1501 South Mint is still considered a “private club.” (Photo courtesy of Lezlie Briggs)

NC Bar Owners Association Lobbies for Alcohol Reform

The NC Bar Owners Association, an organization formed during the pandemic, announced this week that it is working with legislators to introduce reforms to North Carolina alcohol laws during a short session for the North Carolina General Assembly that began Wednesday. These reforms include “removing the burdensome membership requirements that are rooted in racist beginnings designed to legally discriminate against people of color,” according to a release put out by the group.

The law they’re referring to designates any bar that doesn’t serve food — or make enough of its gross income from food sales — as a “private club” and mandates that customers become members before they can be served alcohol. That means customers at Charlotte bars like NoDa 101, Hattie’s Tap & Tavern or 1501 South Mint must have their ID scanned and give their phone numbers before they can be served. 

“We are in full support of removing these outdated requirements and allowing individuals to consume alcohol in our establishments without having to violate their right to privacy to do so,” Tuesday’s release read. 

That’s not the only alcohol law the NC Bar Owners Association is looking to change. They’re also working 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. 

The NC Bar Owners Association wants to change that as well as 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.

“Our state’s economy is heavily influenced by tourism, and this is another way to drive additional revenue to local businesses by adapting the same policies as surrounding states,” the release states. 


Detention Officer Arrested for Assaulting Two Minors

The Mecklenburg County Sheriff’s Office announced Friday that one if its own detention officers was arrested on Wednesday for an assault that allegedly occurred at his home while he was off duty. Though originally released due to the magistrate claiming a lack of probable cause, he was rearrested on Friday and fired from the department. 

Detention officer Jaquan Kitt, who has been with MCSO for six years, was charged with assault on a female, communicating threats and misdemeanor assault with a deadly weapon, as first reported by Brett Jensen with WBT two hours before MCSO issued a release on Friday, but the magistrate found no probable cause on all charges and Kitt was released. 

According to Jensen, Kitt was accused of pistol-whipping a 17-year-old male relative and assaulting a 16-year-old female relative. Jensen also reported that there were “clear marks and photos” that backed up the accusations. 

Garry McFadden
Sheriff Garry McFadden speaks to reporters at a press conference in February. (Photo by Ryan Pitkin)

Following Jensen’s reporting, MCSO issued a press release emphasizing that Kitt had been released for lack of probable cause, including a statement from Sheriff Garry McFadden in which he said he was “surprised” by both the allegations and the magistrate’s decision. 

Later on Friday evening, MCSO issued another release announcing that Kitt had been served with warrants for the same charges listed above after CMPD provided further evidence against him to the magistrate.  


City Releases First Draft of Strategic Mobility Plan

The city of Charlotte released the first draft of the Strategic Mobility Plan on Friday.

According to a release from the city, the Strategic Mobility Plan (SMP) “intends to shape a new mobility future for the city by leveraging transportation to implement the Charlotte Future 2040 Comprehensive Plan.”

The SMP will integrate existing transportation plans and policies into one single plan, establishing new goals for mobility, modernizing current transportation policies and helping to align the 2040 Policy Map and the Unified Development Ordinance.

“The Strategic Mobility Plan is a critical step in implementing the vision of Charlotte’s 2040 Plan to offer everyone in our city safe and equitable mobility choices,” said Liz Babson, director of Charlotte Department of Transportation, in Friday’s release. 

The city will host virtual engagement sessions on May 26 at 6 p.m. and May 31 at noon to compile community feedback on the draft. Residents may also leave comments directly in the draft on the city’s Strategic Mobility Plan Public Input page or email feedback to charlottedot@charlottenc.gov.

A public hearing for the Strategic Mobility Plan is scheduled during the June 13 Charlotte City Council business meeting, followed by City Council consideration for adoption on June 27.


Pedestrian, Motorcyclist Killed in Traffic Fatalities This Week

Two people were killed in two separate incidents on Charlotte roads this week, including the hit-and-run death of a pedestrian in northeast Charlotte and a motorcyclist that collided with a tractor-trailer in northwest Charlotte. 

Shortly after midnight on Sunday, a citizen driving on Eastway Drive near Eastway Park noticed a pedestrian who had been struck by a vehicle lying in the road. CFD and Medic arrived and pronounced the pedestrian dead at the scene. The initial CMPD investigation found that an unknown-color BMW SUV had struck the pedestrian in the road and fled the scene. Police are still searching for the vehicle and driver. 

 

At around 8:38 p.m. on Monday, police responded to a call about a tractor-trailer that had struck a motorcycle at the intersection of Rozzelles Ferry and Lawton roads in northwest Charlotte. Upon arrival, officers located a 2009 Freightliner tractor with a trailer attached and a 2018 Triumph motorcycle within the intersection of Lawton Road. Officers also located the operator of the motorcycle, 37-year-old Andy Kim, and his passenger, along with the operator of the Freightliner.

MEDIC pronounced Kim dead at the scene before transporting the passenger to Atrium Health Main with life-threatening injuries. The operator of the Freightliner did not sustain any injury in this crash. 

The results of the preliminary investigation showed that the driver of the tractor-trailer pulled in front of Kim in an attempt to turn onto Lawton Road while Kim was driving the motorcycle northwest on Rozzelles Ferry Road. The driver of the Freightliner has been charged with misdemeanor death by motor vehicle and failure to yield the right of way. The passenger of the motorcycle remained in critical condition as of Tuesday, though their condition is unclear at this time. 


Homicide Total Reaches 35

There were three homicides reported in Charlotte this week, including one that stemmed from a man’s death that occurred on May 4, bringing the total number of murders in the city this year to 35. 

On May 4, police responded to Atrium Health Main in reference to an assault victim there. The victim of the assault, 41-year-old Edgardo Mejia, was pronounced dead later that day. Homicide detectives were called in to investigate but did not officially deem Edgardo’s death as a homicide until May 19.

Just before 3 p.m. on Wednesday, someone flagged down a patrol officer in the North Tryon Division and pointed them to an unresponsive man lying in the roadway off Sugar Creek Road. Officers immediately initiated life-saving efforts to the man, later identified as 44-year-old Antonio Quarles, while waiting for Medic, who transported him to Atrium Main with life-threatening injuries. Quarles was pronounced dead shortly before 4 p.m. After further investigation, police determined he had been assaulted with a deadly weapon, though no further details are known. 

At around 12:47 a.m. on Thursday, police responded to a shooting call on Blackhawk Road at the Townes at University townhomes in north Charlotte’s Hidden Valley neighborhood, where they found 26-year-old Feliciano Aguilar-Sanchez suffering from a gunshot wound. Medic transported the victim to the hospital, where he died a short time later.


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