CHARLOTTE, N.C. - In a preliminary ruling, a Mecklenburg County Superior judge declined to order the City of Charlotte to release contracts related to the Republican National Convention (RNC). The ACLU of NC brought the legal challenge in a hearing that took place more than nine months after the organization submitted its official request to the City of Charlotte for public records. The organization will continue to fight to ensure these records are eventually made public.
“Today’s ruling is disappointing,” said Dan Siegel, an attorney for ACLU of North Carolina, after today’s hearing. “North Carolinians deserve to know the types of crowd control, surveillance, and munitions they may face if they choose to exercise their constitutionally protected rights of speech, assembly, and expression while the Republican National Convention is taking place in their home state.”
In today’s hearing, the ACLU of North Carolina argued that the North Carolina Public Records Act strongly favors the release of public records and that immediate action was needed by the court to ensure the release of information before the RNC. Police departments across the country, including in Charlotte, have used surveillance and weapons when engaging with protesters in the last few months.
“The City of Charlotte will continue to have access to the law enforcement, surveillance, and crowd control equipment long after the RNC’s conclusion,” said Siegel. “While we can expect to see the impact of this increased militarization of local police for years to come, it’s concerning that North Carolinians will not have access to these records before the RNC takes place.”
More information about the lawsuit, ACLU-NC v. Charlotte, can be found at https://www.acluofnorthcarolina.org/en/cases/aclu-north-carolina-v-charlotte-public-records