CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Charlotte’s extraordinary event ordinance (EEO), which caused controversy in the LGBTQ community when Charlotte Pride 2016 was designated as such an event, was repealed by Charlotte City Council on June 26. The ordinance notably extended police presence at events labeled “extraordinary,” triggering concerns from populations often disproportionately targeted by police — such as LGBTQ people of color.
Charlotte Pride expressed disappointment with labeling its event this way in a statement after the decision last year. The organization had been targeted by social media fliers declaring that the organization’s board “kept it private” until the city manager announced the designation. Pride organizers refuted this claim.
The EEO was controversial for its stringent limits on items allowed on event premises as well as the increased police presence. Any entering party found with bottles, spray paint, chains or other items could be detained or possibly arrested.
Passed shortly before the Democratic National Convention came to Charlotte in 2012, the EEO had been increasingly invoked ever since. Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Chief Kerr Putney told City Council recently that the ordinance had been used too frequently.
“Everything became an extraordinary event,” Putney said. “Therefore, nothing was extraordinary.”
The Police Chief supported the repeal, saying that a more important concern for his department was terrorism. To that purpose, CMPD will consult with event organizers in the future to tailor security plans for each upcoming event.
Meanwhile, the repeal is being celebrated throughout advocacy organizations and activist who fought it tooth and nail. New South Progressives President Sebastian Feculak praised the decision on Facebook:
“This proves that citizen voices are needed on local policy concerns,” Feculak’s statement read. “We hope this is an example to many that concerted, and steady advocacy is effective.”