CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Civil rights groups in North Carolina have reached a settlement with the city of Charlotte and its police department in a lawsuit filed last year after officers surrounded and gassed demonstrators protesting the death of George Floyd.
The terms of the agreement include extensive revisions to police directives, including a ban on the use of CS tear gas during protests, the ACLU of North Carolina said in a news release Friday. Police will also be banned from using chemical weapons to “kettle” or trap protesters under the agreement, which also says crowd dispersal orders must be communicated clearly and repeatedly in English and Spanish, allowing protesters reasonable time to disperse.
“People should not be brutalized when they are exercising their right to protest,” Kristie Puckett-Williams, statewide manager of the ACLU of North Carolina’s Campaign for Smart Justice, said in a statement Friday.
The groups' lawsuit accused police of orchestrating a violent attack on hundreds of peaceful protesters during a protest over Floyd's killing on June 2, 2020. The clash was captured on video and sparked outrage.
“We are a learning agency and always looking for ways to improve as we owe that to the City of Charlotte, Mecklenburg County and all of those we serve because it is the right thing to do,” Johnny Jennings, chief of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department, said in a statement to The Charlotte Observer.
The newspaper reported police had previously announced some changes to their policies.