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CMPD Chief answers questions about use of riot control chemical agents

Charlotte Mecklenburg Police Department Chief Kerr Putney is answering questions about the department's Civil Emergency Unit, which has been responding to protests.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — In his third straight virtual news conference Friday, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department’s Chief  Kerr Putney addressed CMPD's tactics during recent protests in Charlotte.

Putney and the department have been under increased scrutiny since an incident Tuesday night, where protesters appeared to have been trapped on 4th Street between lines of CMPD officers deploying riot-control, chemical agents.

"If you take away chemical munitions and the ability to deescalate, and to maintain and establish order," Chief Putney said. "You're going to have to use physical force and that looks worse than anything you'll with chemical munition."

Riot-control, chemical agents could include smoke and pepper spray, which have been used by police department's across the country during protests and riots brought on by the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

But more changes could soon come. 

Charlotte City Councilman Larken Eagleston said these 8 new policies will be voted on Monday night by the city council. It includes a ban on shooting at moving vehicles, requires a warning before officers shoot, and that all police force be reported.

"My legs and feet ain't hurting for nothing, you know," Eagleston said. 

RELATED: VERIFY: Tear gas is banned from war, but not banned for use by law enforcement internationally

RELATED: VERIFY: Were protesters tear-gassed to clear the way for Trump's walk to church?

There’s a national debate about whether or not tear gas was used to clear out protests before President Trump and his staff walked from the White House to a nearby church.

Our VERIFY team found the the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention defines riot control agents, sometimes referred to as ‘tear gas’, as "chemical compounds that temporarily make people unable to function by causing irritation to the eyes, mouth, throat, lungs, and skin.”

Putney said a full list of Charlotte Mecklenburg Police Department's chemical agents would be released at a later time.

The North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation is independently reviewing Tuesday's night on 4th Street in uptown Charlotte.

Putney admits Facebook video from the night appears disturbing and says he hopes to share video captured by officers' body cameras upon the conclusion of the investigations.

RELATED: Charlotte City Councilman Braxton Winston proposes defunding chemical agents for CMPD

RELATED: CMPD tactic used against protesters under state investigation

RELATED: CMPD said Internal Affairs has received 50 complaints on officers since Friday

City of Charlotte Councilman Braxton Winston, who was arrested during protests Friday, is proposing the defunding of chemical agents.

City officials had been scheduled to appear at a second public forum outside the City of Charlotte Government Center Friday evening. That event was canceled because of the threat of storms.

This is the third day in a row Chief Putney has answered reporter's questions amid protests in Charlotte dating back to last Friday, which marked the first night of protests in Charlotte and featured the use of chemical control agents.

RELATED: Chance of scattered showers, strong thunderstorms this evening

RELATED: Charlotte cancels community forum due to threat of severe weather

RELATED: No arrests during Thursday's protests, CMPD says

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