The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police department says it can no longer enforce city ordinances as a result of a new state law. Until this announcement, if you were caught trespassing, or you played music too loud in your home or at a restaurant or bar, local authorities were allowed to arrest and charge you with a violation of law.

The change comes as a surprise to many local officials, who had been left in the dark about the legislation. Charlotte City council members reacted with shock upon learning about the new law.

Deputy Chief Steven J. Brochu issued a statement to local police that officers should not arrest or charge anyone criminally for a violation of a city ordinance until further notice.

The lack of ordinance enforcement is the result of Senate Bill 300/SL 2021-138.

Primary sponsors of the bill are Republican Danny Earl Britt, who represents Robeson County and Columbus County; Republican Senator Warren Daniel, who represents Avery, Burke and Caldwell counties; and Senator Michael V. Lee, also a Republican, who represents New Hanover County.

Additional sponsors are Senators Gailey, Perry, Steinberg and Sawyer. All are Republicans. 

The bill began its journey to Governor Cooper’s desk in March of this year. It was presented for consideration 41 times and denied before it was sent to Cooper and actually signed off on by the governor.

On its face, the bill appears to be designed to protect police officers statewide. Part V of the bill, however, calls for the Law Enforcement Standards Commission to “develop uniform statewide minimum standards.”

That’s vague.

But it is wording that could allow the new state law to supersede many local ordinances, at least according to Brochu, who released the aforementioned statement and instructed them to contact Brett Few at the police attorney’s office with any questions.

QNotes reached out directly to Few, but has received no response. 

After reading the bill, QNotes didn’t find any particular language that indicates LGBTQ Civil Rights Protection NDOs will be rendered ineffectual or unenforceable.

While the bill does call for the Law Enforcement Standard Commission to develop uniform statewide minimum standards, there was no specific wording found that definitively disallowed city or county ordinance enforcement.

Regardless, Larken Egleston, chair of the city safety committee, says a review of the situation may take several weeks.

David Aaron Moore

David Aaron Moore is a former editor of Qnotes, serving in the role from 2003 to 2007. He is currently the senior content editor and a regularly contributing writer for Qnotes. Moore is a native of North...