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Flashpoint | 2020 year in review: COVID-19 pandemic, historic election and civil unrest

This year was challenging. Cheers to hoping 2021 is better for us all.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — This year was challenging, a global pandemic unlike we've seen before, a reckoning to racial injustices in America that sent thousands of protesters into streets across the country, and the most divisive election we've ever seen.

On March 3, North Carolina reported its first coronavirus case, a week later Governor Cooper announced a state of emergency, and then on March 14, schools closed.

At the time schools closed in March it was only supposed to be for two weeks.

Then on March 17, North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper suspended sit-down service for bars and restaurants, on March 30 everyone was told to "stay at home".

Folks have stayed largely locked down for months.

On May 8, North Carolina began to reopen when the state entered Phase 1, two weeks later Phase 2 came.

It wasn't until June 26 that North Carolina's mask mandate went into effect.

On Aug. 17, kids went back to school -- some in person and some virtually -- and more business reopened, and we still saw metrics go down.

On Sept. 4, the state moved into Phase 2.5 and ever since then we've seen our cases climb day after day.

Now, North Carolina is seeing new records every day.

RELATED: North Carolina set new record, 2,846 people hospitalized

Next, a look back at the divisive and historic election. 

Joe Biden takes the oath of office in a few weeks. By all accounts, Biden ran a horrible campaign in the primaries in the spring. Losing one after the other, he was totally written off.

Then a single endorsement in the state of South Carolina changed the course of the campaign. Congressman Jim Clyburn announced his support for Biden.

RELATED: Jim Clyburn endorses Joe Biden ahead of South Carolina primary

Political analysts say that decision ended up winning the primary for Biden and eventually the nomination. Democrats quickly coalesced around Biden.

Then came the November election. 

He lost North Carolina but won a record-breaking 81 million votes. And four days after the election Biden was projected the winner.

In a primetime address to a divided nation, he called for unity and healing. The president-elect pledging to work for all Americans.

His running mate Kamala Harris also shattering a glass ceiling, becoming the first woman and person of color elected vice president.

RELATED: Harris becomes first Black woman, South Asian elected vice president

RELATED: 'We did it' | Vice President-elect Harris shares video of her congratulating Biden

Meanwhile, the Trump campaign filed 56 lawsuits alleging unsubstantiated claims of voter fraud and asking for recounts in several states -- 50 of those lawsuits have been denied, dismissed, or withdrawn. The recounts all produced the same result.

The electoral college got a lot more attention than in years past when it was just a formality, that again making Biden's win official.

RELATED: Reports: Trump considering 2024 campaign kickoff on Inauguration Day

On Jan. 6, Congress will officially count those electoral votes with Biden to be sworn in as the 46th president two weeks later.

RELATED: Biden team plans Inauguration with 'extremely limited' footprint

In any other year, this would be the biggest story of the year: a reckoning on racial justice.    

It came after the deaths of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and Breonna Taylor. All of these deaths led to protests in the streets across the world, including here in Charlotte.

RELATED: Charlotte protesters take time to remember the lives behind movement

After an incident during protests in uptown Charlotte, CMPD launched a review of its policies. Officers were accused of trapping a group of demonstrators with tear gas. After the review, CMPD Chief, Johnny Jennings told city leaders the department is doing away with its use of tear gas. But they will still have pepper spray as an option to disperse crowds who refuse to leave.

CMPD and city council also making changes tied to the "Eight Can't Wait" initiative, aimed at police reform.

RELATED: CMPD tactic used against protesters under state investigation

The department adopting eight new policies including things like banning chokehold, de-escalation tactics, duty to intervene, and banning shooting at moving vehicles.

Chief Johnny Jennings said CMPD is one of only 10 departments in the top populated cities to meet all eight standards.

RELATED: CMPD implementing all '8 Can't Wait' use of force policies

During these protests across the country, cries were heard rallying to "Defund the Police."

The call to defund the police comes as Charlotte has seen more than 110 homicides this year. In all of last year, there were 103, Charlotte has already surpassed that with still a few weeks left in 2020.

CMPD Chief, Johnny Jennings said this community has got to do better. CMPD said many of these homicides started as a simple argument, but instead of talking it out, it ends in gunfire.

RELATED: CMPD investigating 100th homicide of 2020

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