Should crime victims who are illegal immigrants be identified by police agencies? Charlotte Mayor Pat McCrory and Police Chief Darrel Stephens are squared off over that question, the Charlotte Observer reports. McCrory brought new pressure on the department’s practice of not asking victims their residency status after a dispute involving how police treated an illegal immigrant working as an ice cream vendor. Stephens said an officer erred by asking the vendor his status and that officers are not to make such inquiries because they could discourage victims and witnesses from reporting crimes. “People who are here illegally are afraid of the police to begin with,” Stephens said. Police apologized to the Latino community on Monday.
McCrory countered: “We apologized to some sectors of our community, and I’m not sure an apology was warranted.” The dispute represents the frustration in Charlotte and many other cities as they try to deal with the rise of illegal immigration. McCrory saidt the officer’s actions were appropriate and he is concerned the department is following practices not approved by city policy-makers. The City Council appears split on the policy.