A Charlotte Protestor Opens Up About CMPD’s Transparency Workshops

CHARLOTTE, NC — Braxton Winston says, “Honestly it was really traumatic, to be completely honest, I was shell shocked.”

Winston had never been an activist, but that all changed on September 20, 2016.

While on his way home, down Old Concord Road, he saw the police presence after an officer shot Keith Scott.

“I started asking what am I supposed to tell my daughter,” said Winston.

Winston joined protesters and began live streaming.

Five days later, he did the same thing outside of the Panthers game at Bank of America Stadium.

CMPD stopped Winston, and under the ‘extraordinary events’ guidelines, searched his backpack.

Police found a gas mask inside and placed Winston under arrest.

The DA announced they were dropping charges this week.

Winston says, “I believe I was identified as a leader I was identified as someone who could have an impact by disseminating information.”

Now several months later, Winston is working with CMPD by taking part in the department’s new transparency workshops.

Winston says the first session ran hours longer because of the open forum to ask police questions.

“There were things that honestly they acknowledged they didn’t consider,” said Winston.

Winston says he doesn’t see CMPD as the entire problem, and says it’s a larger issue that the workshop can’t solve.

“Ultimately what they need to be doing is working to de-criminalizing people for being people.”

He does however, say it is at least a step in the right direction.

“I saw this as a way to gain information of how to hold our government accountable… who makes the decisions for this, who makes the decisions for that,” said Winston.