As homicides surge in Charlotte, North Carolina State Sen. Joel Ford said he would make crime fighting a priority if elected mayor and would hire an additional 100 officers over what the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department has requested, reports the Charlotte Observer. Ford is running against Mayor Jennifer Roberts and Mayor Pro Tem Vi Lyles in the September Democratic primary. Ford said he would conduct a salary review of police officers, firefighters and other first responders to ensure Charlotte is competitive with other cities. Ford said he is making law enforcement a priority in part because of the protests and riots over the shooting of Keith Scott last fall. He said Roberts and Lyles didn’t show strong leadership during and after the protests.
“We had looting and burning, and a young man lost his life,” Ford said. “We had a 38-year-old man who was shot in the back, and the shooter shot him four more times in broad daylight. What kind of environment have we created where this is OK?” This year, there have been 27 homicides in Charlotte, including two on Wednesday. With their deaths, Charlotte is now on pace to top 100 homicides in 2017. Last year, 67 people were victims of homicides – the highest number since 2008. Roberts’ campaign manager, Sam Spencer, said the city is already working on almost all of what Ford has requested. Scott was shot and killed by police on the afternoon of Sept. 20. That night, there were riots near the apartment complex where he was shot.