The Charlotte-Mecklenburg police department has created a “Constructive Conversation” team to engage with protesters and the public while building rapport and having what could be difficult conversations with people after controversial incidents, reports the Charlotte Observer. The group grew out of the aftermath of the fatal police shooting of Keith Lamont Scott in September, and the protests that rocked the city.
The team was sent out on Tuesday as critics demanded that police take responsibility for killing another black man. At a nearby house, police said, an 18-year-old armed robbery suspect whom police were looking to serve with a warrant was barricaded inside before he fatally shot himself. A community activist insisted the police killed the teen, Timothy Andre Davis. “That is completely false,” Police Lt. Zeru Chickoree responded, as another activist captured the interaction on a Facebook Live video. “And I hope you don’t cause anyone to get hurt in the name of lying. We absolutely did not kill this black man.” The goal was to listen to the community, Chickoree said, while challenging the authenticity of some of the information they were putting forward.