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CMPD, Charlotte City Council discuss response to protests in uptown

Over 60 people have been arrested in Charlotte during protests over George Floyd's death, including Charlotte City Councilman Braxton Winston.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Addressing a meeting of the Charlotte City Council Monday, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department Chief Kerr Putney and his successor condemned the Minneapolis death of George Floyd, saying it never should have happened. 

Over 60 people have been arrested in Charlotte during protests over Floyd's death, including Charlotte City Councilman Braxton Winston, who was arrested during the first night of protests on Friday. 

Charlotte leaders acknowledged in the virtual meeting that things must change, but they are focused on keeping the peace during protests.

After multiple nights of civil unrest on the streets of Charlotte, city leaders questioned CMPD about their response, asking when tactics change from de-escalation to escalation, and how they monitor protests.

Protests that were peaceful, emotional, and called for action during the days have been drowned out by nightfall as agitators clashed with police.

"We're there to keep the peace, we're going to disperse," CMPD's future chief Johnny Jennings said. "When we deem necessary for the safety not just of our officers but of the people who are protesting."

Jennings said 70 people were arrested over the weekend protests and riots -- including Councilman Braxton Winston.

Winston addressed the arrest in the council meeting, asking CMPD officials directly about it.

"What could I have done differently to not get arrested?" Winston asked.

"You could have left," Jennings responded. "When the dispersal order was given you could have walked away."

Winston maintains he was there to lead, and lower any tension between protesters and police.

RELATED: Charlotte city councilman Braxton Winston arrested during protests

Councilman Malcolm Graham, who represents the area where Friday's riots took place on Beatties Ford Road, said he hopes the main message won't be lost.

"Focus the attention on the problem that we're trying to solve versus picking up bricks and rocks and bringing the attention on that," Graham said.

CMPD says they welcome peaceful protests, but when things turn violent, they must respond. At the meeting, CMPD confirmed eight officers had been injured. All are expected to recover.

Chief Kerr Putney says his police force is going to prepared for more protests. They are planning for the worst, but hoping for the best.

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