CLT City Council Votes to Ban CMPD Purchases of Chemical Agents for Crowds

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — It was a busy night for Charlotte’s City Council. Monday night's meeting had several big topics on the agenda, including summer conventions like the RNC, and several votes including restricting CMPD’s use of force policies.

City Council was also expected to vote on the city’s 2021 budget, and a big component of that is whether they’ll move to defund the use of chemical weapons like tear gas from the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department’s budget.

During the meeting, Councilman Braxton Winston made a motion to ban the purchase of chemical agents for purpose of crowd control or dispersal. After nearly an hour of discussion, the council put it to a vote. 

The motion passed, 9-2. The two no votes were from Councilman Tariq Bokhari and Councilman Ed Driggs, who both asked city leaders not to paint the law enforcement industry with a broad brush.

"Not to allow that desire for action to manage itself as a hasty thing to do something, just to appease those who have a very important message they are sending us right now," Bokhari said.

The passing of the motion means CMPD will not be allowed to buy chemical agents that would be used to break up crowds in Fiscal Year 2021. However, it does not mean they couldn't use the ones they currently have if things were to get violent again.

This year, CMPD spent $103,000 on chemical agents, per the city's budget director. Council will later decide where that roughly $100,000 will go now that it won't be used for chemical munitions.

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