Fri August 17, 2012
City Undeterred In Enforcing Tent Ordinance
Charlotte police will continue to enforce the "No Camping" on city property ordinance, despite a judge's ruling Thursday that seems to leave some wiggle room.
Three Occupy Charlotte protesters were found "not guilty" of resisting arrest when police evicted their encampment in January. Mecklenburg County Judge John Totten determined the tent in which the protesters were arrested was not being used for "camping" as defined by the ordinance. The ordinance specifically outlaws use of tents for sleeping or storing personal belongings.
Charlotte City Attorney Bob Hagemann says the ordinance is still a valid prohibition of camping.
"Just because somebody beats the rap on a DWI, doesn't mean we stop arresting people for drunk driving," says Hagemann. "We will continue to enforce the ordinance as it's written and as we interpret it."
Interpreting the ordinance will be up to police, says Hagemann. Protesters coming for the Democratic National Convention are likely to test it. They contend they should be allowed to use tents as a "symbol of occupation," so long as they don't sleep in them.