Breaking News
More () »

"There is great hope" | CMPD, NAACP hold first of what will become regular meetings

Just days before new Chief Johnny Jennings succeeded retired Chief Kerr Putney, he pledged to work together with the NAACP. He started that process Monday.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — New Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Chief Johnny Jennings took the first step in reopening the lines of communication between CMPD and the NAACP this week.

"It was a start," NAACP President Rev. Corine Mack said about the meeting, which lasted more than an hour. "There is great hope. I think that Chief Jennings is a different person."

For the better part of a year, Mack has maintained CMPD and the NAACP has had a strained relationship.

We questioned Chief Jennings about that breakdown in communication during an interview on June 26.

"That's our challenge that we come together and we can set a good example for the entire community that whether you disagree or not, you know that you can work together for a common goal," he said.

At the time, Chief Kerr Putney was about to retire and Jennings was about to succeed him. Less than three weeks after that interview, he met with the NAACP for the first time.

"Just had a productive discussion with @CharlotteNAACP1 leadership," he tweeted Monday. "We discussed leadership, accountability and how to move forward as a community. This type of collaboration makes our community a safer one."

Mack said during Monday's meeting she pressed the new chief for more in-depth police background checks.

"Not just background checks, but all their social media, all their extracurricular activities should be investigated," she said. "I'm talking about a deep dive into their backgrounds before you even allow them to be out on the streets."

Chief Jennings previously promised us he would do more to weed out racist officers.

"We have to be able to identify those initially," he said. "We don't even want to hire officers that have those biases coming in.”

Mack said she also demanded he prohibits chokeholds.

"I said no chokeholds, ban chokeholds immediately," she said.

Right now, CMPD only allows chokeholds when an officer believes deadly force is reasonably necessary.

"The department continually reviews our policies and directives to determine if updates are necessary to advance our commitment to serving the community better," CMPD spokesperson Rob Tufano said.

In addition, Mack said she addressed acts of deception by the police department, including tactics during recent protests. She said he took notes during the meeting and committed to meet every two weeks with the NAACP moving forward.

"Chief Jennings' administration is based on collaboration," Tufano said. "The Chief had a productive conversation with leadership from the Charlotte Chapter of the NAACP and he is eager to continue that important dialogue. The community provides the CMPD the authority to police and should have input in how they want the CMPD to serve them."


RELATED: 'We stand up as a city and say no more' | CMPD addresses violent weekend in Charlotte

RELATED: City leaders debate plans to address crime in Charlotte

RELATED: "I'm going to die" | Harold Easter's cries for help went unanswered too long, attorney says

RELATED: Johnny Jennings sworn in as new CMPD Chief

RELATED: CMPD Chief Kerr Putney 'extremely satisfied' about retiring after being chief since 2015 and on the force since 1992

Before You Leave, Check This Out