Charlotte Curfew To Be Earlier for Kids Under 16 Years-Old

Fromwww.CharlotteObserver.com By Steve Harrison and April Bethea
Charlotte will soon have a more restrictive curfew for children 15 and under, but there will continue to be no curfew for 16- and 17-year-olds.

The Charlotte City Council voted 9-1 Monday night to tighten the curfew, an effort pushed by Mayor Pro Tem Patrick Cannon in the wake of an late-night uptown shooting in May that occurred after the Food Lion Speed Street celebration.

The current curfew is from 11 p.m. to 6 a.m. from Sunday to Thursday and from 12 a.m. to 6 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday. It applies to all children under 16; there are exceptions for children holding jobs and for those with an adult.

The new curfew is different based on age. For children 12 and under, the curfew will be 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. seven days a week. For children who are 13, 14 and 15, the curfew will be 11 p.m. to 6 a.m. seven days a week.

In addition, the adult who is responsible for a child must now be at least 21, instead of at least 18 in the current ordinance.

Cannon said he wanted a curfew for 16- and 17-year-olds, but the city’s hands were tied because the state of North Carolina requires them to be tried in the adult court system, making it difficult to classify them as juveniles.

“State law won’t allow us that flexibility,” said Cannon, a Democrat.

The new curfew will go into effect Dec. 15, in time for New Year’s Eve celebrations.

Monday’s vote was the first significant change to the city curfew since it was implemented in 1994.

It’s unclear how vigorously the new curfew will be enforced.

There were 58 curfew violations across the city from June 2010 to May 2011, according to statistics provided to the Observer this summer. And the Charlotte-Mecklenburg police said Monday night that it mostly uses the curfew during special events.

“We don’t do random enforcement,” said Vicki Foster of the CMPD.

Democrat Michael Barnes voted against the new curfew in part because he said the current ordinance is rarely enforced.

Barnes said he would have supported the ordinance if it “had more teeth.” He said parents of children arrested for curfew violations can be required to take a court-ordered parenting class, but are rarely required to do so.

Cannon said CMPD chief Rodney Monroe supported the changes, and lobbied for the implementation to be moved from February to December. That would allow police to use the new curfew for New Year’s Eve.

Mayor Anthony Foxx said a more restrictive curfew won’t fix what he said are “deeper issues” with the city’s youth.

“As much as we have been talking about how to engage youth … the challenges are outrunning our efforts,” Foxx said.

In the May incident after the Speed Street festival, police made roughly 70 arrests. Thousands of teenagers flooded an area around the Charlotte Transportation Center uptown, and the CMPD struggled at times to contain the crowds.

A 22-year-old was shot and killed.

City staff has pointed to other similar-sized communities that have enacted “tiered” curfews based on age.

In Columbus, Ohio, for example, youths ages 13 to 17 are barred from public places between midnight to 4:30 a.m. each night, with some exceptions. Younger children must be in by one hour past sunset.

The curfew has been in effect for more than 30 years, but enforcement wasn’t really stepped up until 2008, said Sgt. Rich Weiner, a spokesman for the Columbus Division of Police. Weiner said the department has had issues in the past where they were unable to locate a child’s parents, and children were taken to children’s services and later a juvenile facility. Now, a local YMCA has offered to serve as a “holding place” for curfew violators until parents could be notified.

And while many communities have adopted curfews for juveniles over the years, they’re not everywhere. The city of Raleigh doesn’t have one, and there have been no sustained discussions about the issue, according to a spokeswoman.

Greensboro enacted a curfew last year, but only for its downtown business district. The policy was part of broader efforts to improve behavior in that part of town. The curfew was originally set to expire in December, but Assistant City Manager Michael Speedling said Greensboro staff want to recommend extending the policy.

Published in: on November 30, 2011 at 9:20 am  Leave a Comment  

Woman Raped by Estranged Husband at Charlotte Elementary School

From http://www.wcnc.com By ANN SHERIDAN / NewsChannel 36 Staff, November 29, 2011

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Parents at Merry Oaks Elementary School were shocked and saddened to learn that a school employee was attacked and raped by her estranged husband on school grounds Monday.

Jenny, who asked that we not use her last name, began to cry and shake when she learned of the attack. “Oh my, that’s horrible,” she said. “It really hits home. I hate to hear that.”

According to a police report, the employee’s estranged husband came onto the school campus after dismissal and threatened to kill her. No students were near the scene of the incident, according to police. The estranged husband allegedly taped the woman’s hands and mouth and then raped her.

An adult witness spotted them and the suspect ran. Police arrested him a short time later without incident.

Jenny said a school administrator did call parents about the incident Tuesday evening. She said the message was brief and that the caller explained she could not go into details because the incident was an ongoing police investigation.

Jenny said she wished she had received more information so that she could be prepared for anything her daughter might learn about it from other children.

Still, she said her concern now is with the victim. “Still, that’s horrible. That it happened at her workplace with children still in the building,” she said.

Jenny called the Merry Oaks community a tight group and she believed parents will rally around the victim.

“Very shocked, very shocked. That it would happen to anyone, much less on a school campus,” she said through tears.

The suspect was charged with rape, sexual assault, kidnapping and communicating threats. NewsChannel 36 is not releasing his name to protect the identity of the victim.

Published in: on November 30, 2011 at 8:58 am  Leave a Comment  

2 Children Among Those Tied Up in Charlotte Home-Invasion Armed Robbery

From http://www.wcnc.com by NewsChannel 36 Staff, November 29, 2011

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Charlotte-Mecklenburg police are looking for two thieves who broke into a home by gunpoint in southwest Charlotte and tied up five people, including two young children.

It happened at a home on Blanwood Drive near Clanton Road around 9:45 p.m. Monday.

According to the police report, the thieves forced their way into the home and tied up five people, including a 2-year-old girl, a 6-year-old girl and a 15-year-old.

The thieves stole $200 in cash.

One of the victims, a 26-year-old man, believes one of the two suspects is within the family. One the victims did not want to comment on the incident when reached Tuesday by NewsChannel 36.

If you have any information about this incident you are asked to call the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department at 704-332-9857.

Published in: on November 29, 2011 at 10:25 pm  Leave a Comment  

Charlotte Mayor / Council Approve Changes to Curfew Ordinance

From WBTV, November 29, 2011

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) – The mayor and Charlotte city council approved a new teen curfew.

It goes into effect in just two and a half weeks.

Police say this will help them protect teenagers and keep things under control at events like First Night and the 4th of July.

When thousands head for Center City for next month’s First Night a new law will be on the books for the City of Charlotte.

Mayor Pro Tem Patrick Cannon supported the new ordinance.

He said, “We allow this ordinance to become effective on December 15th 2011.

Charlotte is moving to what’s been carried out in other cities.

It is a system known as tiered curfews.

Under the approved changes anyone under the age of 12 isn’t allowed without a guardian between the hours of 10 at night until six in the morning, and that same kind of supervision applies to youths between the ages of 13 to 15 between the hours of 11 at night until six in the morning.

And this new law passed by council has a different twist.

“As well as increasing the age of the adult responsible for the juvenile to 21,” Cannon said.

It is currently 18, and the focus will be directed at large scale community events, according to Major Vicki Foster of the Charlotte Mecklenburg Police Department

“New Years Eve, big events downtown during the summer, “she said.  “Is when we usually use it the most.

Even with its passage, Mayor Anthony Foxx worries that it could fall short.

“I’m gonna continue prodding us, and there’s a lot feeling around the dais that there is more to this than expanding an ordinance, “Foxx said.

State Law Prevents City from Enforcing Curfew for Older Teens

Cannon was hoping revisions in the curfew ordinance would target teens 16 and 17 years old.But he says state law ties the city’s hands.

Cannon notes that North Carolina views teens starting at age 15 as an adult. “So with that being the case as well as the courts not having the resources monetarily to support such a program, we won’t be able to move forward,” Cannon said.

Last year, arrests reports showed nearly 170 sixteen and seventeen year olds were arrested late at night. And just this past weekend, several teens that age were arrested for various crimes like larceny and drinking.

“My wish would be that the delegation would take the bull by the horns and go forward on the state level and change the laws so we can have some flexibility in Mecklenburg County, here in this region,” Cannon said.

Cannon says the goal is to keep kids from putting themselves in harms way or becoming a victim to someone else. At the same time, still letting a kid be a kid.

“We are only one of three states in the country that has it set up to where we can’t protect our youth..and that’s a problem,” Cannon said.

Besides tightening the curfew time for young teens, the city will also look at upping the age of the adult a teen can be with when they are out past curfew. Currently it’s 18 years old. It could be raised to 21.

If the council gives the green light on these changes, the new rules could go into effect immediately.

Currently, if the curfew is violated parents will be cited and required to go to court. Even worse, if your child commits a crime, parents can be charged.

If you are cited, you can opt to take parenting class–but it will cost you $75 dollars.

Published in: on November 29, 2011 at 1:09 pm  Leave a Comment  

Truck Believed Involved in Fatal Hit and Run Incident Found on Darden Ct. in “New Stonehaven”

From WBTV By Chris Dyches, Web Content Producer, November 29, 2011

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) – Police in Charlotte are investigating after they found a truck that was possibly involved in a hit and run that killed a 30-year-old woman.

According to police, the truck was found along Darden Court around 10:30 a.m. Tuesday morning.

Police told WBTV that there is a good possibility that this vehicle was involved in a hit in run a couple weeks ago along the 5900 block of Monroe Road. 30-year-old Valerie Michelle Miranda was killed in that accident.

Officers say Miranda was struck while she was crossing the street. Her family says it’s possible she may have just gotten off a city bus after leaving work around midnight.

There’s a stop across the street from her apartment complex.

Information gathered at the scene indicates the suspect vehicle was traveling inbound, toward uptown Charlotte. Brandy Miranda says police told her they have a broken headlight, which may help determine more about the vehicle and whether the headlights were on at the time.

Officers said they were looking for a dark colored pick-up truck with dually rear wheels. The vehicle could have damage to the right front headlight assembly and right front corner, police told WBTV after the deadly crash.

Officers are investigating if the truck found on Tuesday is connected to the case.

Anyone with information about this case is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 704-334-1600 or the Major Crash Investigation Unit at 704-432-2169.

Published in: on November 29, 2011 at 12:56 pm  Leave a Comment  

Special U.S. Attorney Appointed Specifically to Combat Violent Gangs and Drug Trafficking in Charlotte Region

From The Charlotte Observer By Joe Marusak, November 29, 2011

STATESVILLE – Erin Comerford, assistant district attorney for Iredell and Alexander counties, has been named special assistant U.S. attorney with the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Statesville.

Comerford will prosecute gang, violent-crime and high-level drug trafficking cases in federal court, said Anne Tompkins, U.S. attorney for the Western District of North Carolina.

Comerford was sworn in to her new post on Nov. 17. She has been an assistant district attorney in Forsyth County for the past three years and joined the Iredell-Alexander District Attorney’s Office for her new role.

She has prosecuted cases at the state level involving domestic violence, impaired-driving to drug-trafficking offenses. Most recently, she was a member of the Superior Court Drug Division focusing on cases involving complex drug conspiracies, habitual-felon and firearm-by-felon charges, and has been the lead prosecutor in numerous felony drug prosecutions.

State and federal authorities share “concurrent jurisdiction” over many drug and violent crimes. Concurrent jurisdiction allows for prosecution in either state or federal court.

To make sure the best choice of venue for prosecution is made, the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the Iredell-Alexander District Attorney’s Office established a formal partnership in which Comerford will focus on violent crime, crime associated with gangs, and high-level drug trafficking crimes. She will collaborate with state, local and federal agencies to determine which cases should be indicted and prosecuted federally, Tompkins said.

“Having a dually sworn state-federal prosecutor will allow the District Attorney’s Office and the U.S. Attorney’s Office to more effectively and aggressively prosecute violent criminals and drug traffickers,” Tompkins and Iredell-Alexander District Attorney Sarah Kirkman said in a joint statement. “The goal of this partnership is to make Iredell and Alexander counties safer through a coordinated enforcement effort.”

Published in: on November 29, 2011 at 12:42 pm  Leave a Comment  

Charlotte Curfew Changes Possible Tonight

Charlotte Observer Staff Reports, Monday, Nov. 28, 2011

Charlotte City Council could vote tonight on a proposal that would toughen the city’s curfew law.

The proposal could forbid youths 12 and younger from being out in public between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m., every day of the week. The current law is from 11 p.m. to 6 a.m. Sunday through Thursday nights and from midnight to 6 a.m. Friday and Saturday nights.

Another change in the law would permit minors to be out in public with adults 21 or older. Currently, the law defines “adults” as 18 and older.

City council member Patrick Cannon has been lobbying for a change in state law that would allow Charlotte to extend the curfew through 17-year-olds. The push for a change in Charlotte’s curfew law picked up steam after crowds of mostly young people started fights and disobeyed police during the final night of Food Lion Speed Street uptown last May.

Published in: on November 28, 2011 at 8:51 am  Leave a Comment  

CMPD Arrests 2 in Thanksgiving Day Murders

Officers say Deaths Result of “Drug Deal Gone Sour”

From The Charlotte Observer By Steve Harrison and Maria David, Friday, Nov. 25, 2011

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police made two arrests Friday in the Thursday night shooting death of Justin Glenn, who was killed in what police said was a drug deal gone sour.

Glenn, 22, was shot just after 10:30 p.m. on Ambassador Street, near Tuckaseegee and Berryhill Roads.

Police arrested Zamario Delandro Blakeney, 20, and Lakeem Roamele Baker, 19, for Glenn’s murder.

Police had said that they believed the victim and suspects knew each other, and had met to conduct a drug transaction. A dispute ensued, and the victim was shot.

Baker, of Bennettsville, S.C., has four pending charges against him, including weapons possession. Blakeney has been found guilty of a number of charges, including breaking and entering, marijuana possession and common law robbery.

Glenn had been found guilty of marijuana possession last year.

Published in: on November 26, 2011 at 2:43 pm  Leave a Comment  

Oakhurst Neighborhood Gets Help From WCNC News Channel 36

By BOBBY SISK / NewsChannel 36 Staff

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – NewsChannel 36 is looking out for homeowners in Charlotte’s Oakhurst neighborhood off Monroe Road. 

 
 To watch the video report of this story from NewsChannel 36 use this link:
http://www.wcnc.com/news/local/Homeowners-delighted-after-NewsChannel-36-helps–134520558.html
 
They contacted NewsChannel 36 complaining to anchor Bobby Sisk about an abandoned overgrown house there.
  
Friday, Bobby has the update that has neighbors pleased

For seven years, neighbors say an overgrown home on Raney Way in Charlotte.  Under all the vines, brush and weeds there was a brick house neighbors  say was often home to squatters.

After we first reported on this home three months ago, we got in touch with city code enforcement to investigate why it was left sitting there. The city immediately took action.

“They had actually come out and mowed the grass.  Done some on site cleanup,” said John Eft

“The city had actually decided to demolish the property,” said Eft.

That’s what Eft and other neighbors wanted at first.The eyesore torn down altogether, but the property was also for sale. And as it turns out, a buyer came forward andd got the city’s approval to rehab the house.

For Eft, the difference already is dramatic and it really is a best case scenario for his neighborhood.

“He’s been working on it about 3 weeks and you can see the house is 1000 percent better than it was when you were here three months ago, two and a half months ago… so that’s a welcome change,” said Eft.

For years Eft kept notes on activity at the house, hoping he’d get the previous owners or the city to do something.
 
His advice to anyone who has an eyesore in their neighborhood is to be diligent.

He’s glad the city started the demolition process, but he’s much happier the new owner decided to bring the house back up to code.

We’re looking out for you.  Let us know if you have a story you think we need to check out.

Published in: on November 26, 2011 at 2:31 pm  Leave a Comment  

Innovative Tactical Concepts Introduces World’s First Interactive Online Self-Defense Training Program

From The Buckeye Firearms Association, November 25, 2011

Brian LaMaster at Innovative Tactical Concepts has announced that he’s launching an interactive online self-defense training program. It’s the first of its kind.

From the comfort of your own home, you can learn basic gun safety and shooting, basic and advanced concealed carry, basic and advanced unarmed self-defense, knife, stick, home defense, tactical rifle, tactical shotgun, church security/safety teams, and much more.

The program offers:

  • Training at your own pace – improve your skills no matter what your schedule
  • 24/7 access to training materials – day or night, weekdays and weekends
  • Progressive learning tract – develop survival skills in a planned progression
  • Access to private training videos – gain insights into often overlooked topics
  • Access to product reviews – objective reviews from expert trainers
  • Discussion forums – connect with others who share an interest in personal protection
  • Cost savings – no unnecessary spending for dojo fees, live fire, travel, and gear

http://www.right2defend.com/buckeyefirearms-onlinetraining.html

Published in: on November 26, 2011 at 2:23 pm  Leave a Comment