Charlotte mayor promises police shooting investigation of ‘highest integrity’
JUDY WOODRUFF: We return now to the fatal police shooting in Charlotte, North Carolina late yesterday and the violent street protests that followed.
Here with me now is the city's mayor, Jennifer Roberts.
Welcome, Mayor Roberts. Thank you.
We're hearing two different versions upon what happened. Is there any new information to come forward late today that lends credence to either version?
MAYOR JENNIFER ROBERTS (D), Charlotte, North Carolina: Well, we have heard from our police chief that we do have video footage of the incident.
They are still analyzing it. It's from different angles. We have heard that a gun was found on the scene, that there was no book found on the scene, and that we are corroborating different witness views as well to make sure that we have all the facts in hand. But we are hearing a very different story from within the city.
JUDY WOODRUFF: You mean from within the community, from the relative, or apparently the daughter of the victim, and from an eyewitness who said she saw a book fall out of his lap when he got out of the car.
JENNIFER ROBERTS: We want to make sure that we have a thorough investigation.
We have a history in Charlotte of being very transparent, and we absolutely want the community to know that this investigation will have the highest integrity. We want the community to be patient as we put together all the facts. We know there are different versions of the story out there. And we are calling for a peaceful protest while we put everything together, while we get the evidence clear.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Will the gun that was found be publicly released? Will it be shown to the public? And will that video that we understand that's available be shown?
JENNIFER ROBERTS: Well, I have asked to see the video footage as soon as possible.
The chief, at his discretion, can show it to leaders in the community. We are working with our officers to help get that information to some key people. And absolutely, evidence, once the investigation is completed and that we are sure we have all of it, and it is accurate, I want us to be as transparent as possible.
We absolutely need to show folks that this is an investigation that is transparent with the highest integrity.
JUDY WOODRUFF: So, does that mean that all of this material will ultimately be made available?
JENNIFER ROBERTS: Well, there are some legal issues around that. Our policy has been that while the investigation is still active, that that is not made public. But once the investigation is concluded, whatever that conclusion is, then it will be accessible.
In terms of what extent, again, there are some legal procedures to go through. But my goal is to make it as clear as possible as soon as possible.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Do you have any more information, Mayor Roberts, about who the victim was? We know that the woman who said she was his daughter said that he had a disability. Do we know any more about that?
JENNIFER ROBERTS: I have not been able to confirm any more information about the victim.
I know that there are many folks in the community who are stepping up, our faith leaders, our community leaders, who are calling for peace, who are calling for patience. Absolutely want people to express their views, express their frustration, perhaps, with the slowness of information coming out. But we are calling for peace and hoping that people will wait until it all becomes clear and we can get that information out.
JUDY WOODRUFF: We reported just a few moments ago that there appeared to be demonstrations forming this afternoon in Charlotte.
What is the state of what's going on in the community right now?
JENNIFER ROBERTS: We have had some gatherings. We had a small gathering of people in our uptown area of people very peacefully, very quietly holding up signs, Black Lives Matter.
We have a gathering of the faith community and some faith leaders who are gathering in a park who have made it very clear this is peaceful. They want to express their concern with a story that, again, has played out all around the country. And folks are very skeptical, to be honest, of some of the investigations that have happened.
But we want people to express that frustration. We want to work with our community. We have a long tradition of our faith leaders, of our business and community leaders coming together to work through these things.
And we have had numerous dialogues. We have a community relations committee that the city has that has a process where we can have these constructive dialogues.
JUDY WOODRUFF: And finally, just quickly, we understand President Obama telephoned you today. Is that right? What did he say?
JENNIFER ROBERTS: Absolutely.
I have spoken to President Obama, and he certainly offered any help the federal government could provide. There are folks in the Justice Department, others who have worked with community policing strategies who know how to work with communities.
And I was grateful for the call. Clearly, this is something our country is facing, and we absolutely do need to know that there are racial disparities still in our country. And it is in our best interests and in our community's best interest to work together, to continue to be a country that is more equal and where everyone is treated with dignity and respect. And we pledge to do that here in Charlotte.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Mayor Jennifer Roberts, the mayor of the city of Charlotte, thank you very much.
JENNIFER ROBERTS: Thanks for having me.