Charlotte, NC – Decarcerate Mecklenburg, a coalition of community activists, attorneys, and religious leaders, is holding rolling protests in vehicles circling Mecklenburg County Detention Center, the District Attorney’s office, and Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police headquarters.
The alliance wants CMPD to issue citations instead of make arrests, and is asking District Attorney Spencer Merriweather to release inmates held on bond along with those with six months or less on their sentence, pregnant women, and everyone over 50 years of age.
“The threat of COVID-19 in our jail is heightened by the fact that Charlotte’s racist criminal legal system preys on people who are already vulnerable: black people, immigrants, people with substance use and mental health disorders, and those who are homeless and low income,” said Kristie Puckett Williams, an organizer with American Civil Liberties Union of North Carolina and Decarcerate Mecklenburg. “Continued incarceration will result in negligent homicide in our jails,” she added.
Some Mecklenburg County employees have tested positive for COVID-19, and the activists equate the close proximity of inmates, sheriff’s deputies, and staff as a tinderbox of coronavirus transmission, which ultimately could be spread into the larger community.