Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department Chief Kerr Putney harshly criticized the “irresponsible activism” of city leaders after not a single elected official attended a memorial for officers killed in the line of duty on Friday.
“Take note of who is not here,” Putney said during the memorial, according to video of the event from WSOC-TV. “I apologize sometimes for the lack of leadership that we see.”
His frustration appeared to bubble over after three years of antagonism from Charlotte’s elected officials, even as CMPD struggles to combat a rising homicide rate.
Then-Mayor Jennifer Roberts undermined Putney during his response to the sometimes-violent protests after the officer-involved shooting death of Keith Lamont Scott, slamming CMPD for a “lack of transparency and communication.”
Somehow, the relationship between elected officials and the Charlotte-Mecklenburg police only got worse after that. City Council member LaWana Mayfield called police officers “homegrown terrorists” on Twitter in 2018. Colleague Braxton Winston has repeatedly lectured Putney and other CMPD officials from the dais and helped lead protests against police doing their jobs.
“Leadership is about showing people how much you support them,” Putney said during a news conference after the memorial, according to WSOC. “Leadership is about being there for people who you need you. If all you care about is accountability when it comes to this profession, I think this world is upside down.”
Friday’s memorial was particularly emotional this year. The Charlotte community lost an officer just this month, when Mooresville Police Department Ofc. Jordan Harris Sheldon, 32, was killed during a routine traffic stop.
A spokesperson for Mayor Vi Lyles told WSOC-TV that the mayor failed to make it to Friday’s memorial because she got the time wrong.