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5 Things to Know: CMPD Officer Charged with Embezzlement

...and four more stories from March 10-16, 2024

A mugshot of CMPD officer Henry Chapman
CMPD officer Henry Chapman has been charged with embezzlement after allegedly stealing $900 from a person he arrested on Thursday. (Photo courtesy of Mecklenburg County Sheriff’s Office)

CMPD Officer Charged After Allegedly Stealing from Arrestee

The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department (CMPD) announced Friday that they have arrested one of their own, charging CMPD officer Henry Chapman with embezzlement after investigating claims from a man who was arrested on Thursday that Chapman had stolen money from him. 

According to a CMPD release, the incident occurred shortly after 4 p.m. on Thursday in the University City Division. A warrant revealed the CMPD officer was accused of stealing approximately $900 from the arrestee. 

“This is deeply disappointing for our organization,” said CMPD Chief Johnny Jennings in a release on Friday. “We hold ourselves to the highest standards, and a violation of that trust is a serious offense. However, I want to assure the public that we take all allegations seriously, and we will not tolerate misconduct within our ranks. I’m proud that the supervisor and other officers on scene took immediate and decisive action to instigate the situation and determine that our officer needed to be arrested. No CMPD employee is above the law.” 

CMPD Internal Affairs is conducting a simultaneous investigation to the department’s ongoing criminal investigation. Chapman, who was hired in September 2009 and is currently assigned to the University City Division, has been placed on unpaid administrative leave pending the outcome of the internal investigation. 

Robert Dawkins with SAFE Coalition, a local organization that pushes for more accountability from law enforcement, among other issues, said the allegations against Chapman are indicative of a larger problem.

“Since CMPD as an organization is allowed to make money off of asset forfeiture with very little oversight and transparency, it sets the precedent for officers to believe that they can get away with using the same tactics for personal gain,” Dawkins told Queen City Nerve.

“The community has a blind faith that police don’t commit crime because taking an oath somehow makes them inhumane and impervious from corruption,” he continued. “To maintain this air of impunity for both the organization and its officers, police departments fight tooth and nail to fight against transparency. It’s the public’s job to demand it.”

Superior Court Rules GOP Changes to Election Board Unconstitutional

A three-judge panel of Superior Court judges ruled Tuesday that changes made to the NC Board of Elections last fall are unconstitutional, writing in a unanimous decision that the changes infringe on the governor’s constitutional duties.

In October 2023, Republicans overrode Gov. Cooper’s veto of a new law that established bipartisan election boards to be in charge of running elections, including early voting and certification, despite warnings from experts that the boards would likely deadlock on key issues, creating instability around elections in the state.

State and county election boards have long been controlled by the party of the governor, who appoints three members from their party and two from the opposing party on the state board.

Within minutes of the GOP supermajority overriding Cooper’s vetoes last October, plaintiffs filed a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of two new election administration reform bills. Two of the judges who issued Tuesday’s ruling are Republicans while one is a Democrat. An appeal of the ruling by Republican state legislators is expected, which could send the case to the state Supreme Court.

Atrium, YMCA Open West Boulevard Health Care Facility

Atrium Health and the YMCA of Greater Charlotte held a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the new Ed Brown Community Center on Friday. Located on the campus of the Stratford Richardson YMCA, the center will house the Atrium Health Community Care Primary Care West Boulevard Family Medicine facility.

The clinic will open to its first patients on Monday, March 18, providing health services to the community on the West Boulevard corridor, which historically has been unserved and underserved.

The facility is named after the former chair of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Hospital Authority, a local philanthropist and business leader who passed away in 2023. Brown and his wife provided financial gifts to help establish Atrium Health’s Jan & Ed Brown Center for Pulmonary Medicine and bring novel therapies in lymphoma treatment to Atrium Health Levine Cancer.

“Ed Brown, our visionary board chair, was an unwavering advocate for better health care access, especially in vulnerable communities that have historically been underserved,” said Eugene A. Woods, CEO of Advocate Health, which includes Atrium Health, in a release. “His tireless dedication to our ‘for all’ mission and to health equity is reflected in this new clinic serving the West Boulevard community — and has also shaped the organization we have become.”

The approximately 5,000-square-foot clinic will have six exam rooms, a minor surgical procedure room, a lab, and on-site prescription pick-up. Services provided will include pediatric care, women’s care, preventative health care, physicals, X-rays, hearing and vision screenings, electrocardiograms, same-day sick appointments, a food pharmacy in partnership with Nourish Up (formerly Loaves & Fishes) and, beginning in April, virtual behavioral health care.

Interpretation services for 40 languages will also be available along with social work services to connect with community resources.

Creek Week Kicks Off in Mecklenburg County

Alongside community partners, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Storm Water and Services is hosting the sixth annual Creek Week. Beginning today and running through March 23, Creek Week celebrates the 3,000 miles of creeks in Mecklenburg County with more than 15 educational and volunteer opportunities.

Volunteers will teach the community about the county’s waterways and how to keep them clean and healthy. With activities scheduled every day, residents can sign up to clean a creek near their neighborhood, spend a lunch hour volunteering, or enjoy family story time with Stormy the Storm Water Turtle, among many other scheduled events.

Volunteers can help maintain newly planted trees in the Wilmore neighborhood as part of Creek Week. (Via Google Images)

Tomorrow, residents can join fishing expert Dave “Shaky” Ferguson in Pineville from 1-4 p.m. to learn tips on fishing in local parks and streams. Fishing supplies and snacks will be provided. From 3-4:30 p.m., volunteers can join Charlotte Wildlife Stewards at Chantilly Ecological Sanctuary to pick up trash around the creeks.

Volunteers can stop by the Stevens Creek Nature Center in Mint Hill for tours and activities throughout the week, including 9 a.m.-noon on Monday, or attend Family Story Time with Stormy from 9:30-10 a.m. at Southwest Middle School in Steele Creek. Participants can also volunteer to help maintain trees that have been planted in the floodplain along Merriman Avenue in the Wilmore neighborhood on Monday from 11 a.m.-noon.

Visit the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Storm Water and Services website to check out the many other volunteer opportunities planned for Creek Week.

Charlotte Named Bloomberg Sustainable City

Bloomberg Philanthropies on Tuesday named Charlotte as one of 25 US cities to join Bloomberg American Sustainable Cities (BASC), “a three-year initiative designed to leverage historic levels of federal funding to implement transformative local solutions to build low-carbon, resilient, and economically thriving communities,” according to a release from the city. 

By participating in BASC, Charlotte will receive a Bloomberg Philanthropies-funded innovation team with up to three dedicated staff members who have expertise in data analysis, insight development, human-centered design, systems thinking, and project management to bolster city capacity in driving progress on climate mitigation and promoting equitable outcomes, the release stated. 

The funding from Bloomberg Philanthropies could allow these cities to grow their building and transportation networks in ways that limit greenhouse has emissions. Projects could include building affordable, energy-efficient housing, increasing the availability of electric vehicles and charging stations, and more. The initiative has a particular emphasis on making sure these cities can leverage and use federal funding to move local projects forward, especially in disadvantaged communities. 

The city will also receive multi-year, in-depth, customized policy and technical assistance in collaboration with community-based organizations to mobilize public, private, and philanthropic investments.

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