Local News

Raleigh police drop charge against protester, to investigate officers' actions

Posted June 19, 2020 2:52 p.m. EDT
Updated June 19, 2020 7:21 p.m. EDT

— Police Chief Cassandra Deck-Brown said Friday that she has launched an investigation into the actions of several officers after two people were detained during a Thursday night protest in downtown Raleigh.

No charges were filed against a juvenile, Deck-Brown said, and a charge of resisting, delaying or obstructing a law enforcement officer was dismissed against a woman arrested at the protest.

Police have been under fire in recent weeks for their actions in protests that have occurred in the wake of George Floyd's death in police custody in Minneapolis. They deployed tear gas and fired rubber bullets into crowds that were throwing rocks and bottles and started looting downtown Raleigh stores on May 30.

The Raleigh City Council on Tuesday approved hiring a Chicago-based consultant to review the incidents and make recommendations by the end of September. The department also has committed to changing its use-of-force policies, including banning chokeholds.

Deck-Brown said police have tried to assist with peaceful protests by blocking traffic so people could march through intersections unscathed. But she said protesters on Thursday night started running into traffic and creating hazards.

"In the past three days, we've had two incidents in our city that resulted in fatalities. We clearly don't want to see this happen to our protesters," she said.

Initially, a juvenile was reported to have assaulted an officer during the incident. Deck-Brown said she reviewed video from officers' body-worn cameras and videos posted on social media and determined no charges were warranted.

"I am concerned by the actions of some of our officers," she said.

She declined to say how many officers are under investigation or whether they remain on patrol.

City Councilman Jonathan Melton called video of the incident disturbing, and Councilman Saige Martin said it is the latest evidence that Raleigh needs to cut funding to the police department. The council approved a 2020-21 budget Monday that keeps funding for the department stable, rejecting both calls to "defund" the department and requests from the department for more money.

"Defunding the police department does not diminish the responsibilities and the expectations that the rest of this community has as it relates to public safety," Deck-Brown said Friday. "When you thin those resources, you see worse policing."

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