Wednesday, April 4, 2018

GRAPHIC VIDEO: CMPD Releases Footage of 2017 Hostage Situation, Shooting

Officers fire on man after he holds woman at gunpoint

Posted By on Wed, Apr 4, 2018 at 3:15 PM

A still from the body cam footage of CMPD officer Joseph Bauer.
  • A still from the body cam footage of CMPD officer Joseph Bauer.

The Charlotte Mecklenburg Police Department released body camera footage this afternoon that shows officers shooting a man in west Charlotte in 2017 after he held a woman at gunpoint.

The department released three videos from the officers involved in the shooting — Shon Sheffield, Joseph Bauer and James Tindall — from the night of September 25, 2017, when those officers and others responded to a breaking-and-entering call on Holly Street in west Charlotte.

Upon arrival, officers surrounded the house in question. After a couple minutes, 28-year-old Johnathan Autry can be seen exiting the house with a woman, who screams to officers that she is pregnant. Autry can be seen holding a gun to the woman and hiding behind her while yelling at officers to back up. Autry leads the woman across the street and behind a separate house, before he reaches the edge of the woods and officers fire on him.

Autry was later taken to the hospital and treated for his injuries. The woman was unharmed.

The Mecklenburg County District Attorney's Office reviewed the incident and found the officers acted lawfully. Upon his release from the hospital, Autry was arrested and charged with first-degree kidnapping, first-degree burglary and possession of a firearm by a felon.

According to CMPD, a report of the office’s findings will be released after the criminal charges against Autry have been adjudicated.

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Thursday, March 29, 2018

Listen Up: LaLa Specific Jumps in the Cypher on 'Local Vibes'

Episode 36

Posted By and on Thu, Mar 29, 2018 at 9:30 AM

Shame on us for going 35 episodes without bringing a female rapper into the studio, but we couldn't think of a better guest than LaLa Specific to break us out of that drought. LaLa put up with Ryan's horrible puns to discuss her style (or styles) and the UNC Charlotte cypher world while taking us through a timeline of her bangers.

Remember to check out our new team at Queen City Podcast Network, where we've joined up with some of our favorite podcasts around Charlotte. You can catch up with our past episodes on iTunes or Stitcher, or just type "Local Vibes" in your Spotify search bar.

[From left] Ryan Pitkin, LaLa Specific and Mark Kemp.
  • [From left] Ryan Pitkin, LaLa Specific and Mark Kemp.

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Listen Up: VS Guitar Duo Shreds on 'Local Vibes'

Episode 35

Posted By and on Thu, Mar 22, 2018 at 9:30 AM

It was a long road for guitar virtuoso Vadim Kolpakov to go from the Russian city of Saratov to Boston to Charlotte, but we're glad he took it. He brought his seven-string guitar and his nephew Sasha, the other half of one of his groups, the VS Guitar Duo, to play us some tunes in person, including their Russian gypsy cover of MJ's "Billie Jean."

We also discussed how Vadim found himself onstage with Madonna, playing for hundreds of thousands of fans in stadiums around the world, and why, despite the use of the word to describe his music, terms like "gypsy" and "nomad" bother Kolpakov and other Romany people.

The VS Guitar Duo will perform a concert at Grace on Brevard on April 6 from 8 to 10 p.m. For more info, go here.

This is our first "Local Vibes" episode as a member of the new Queen City Podcast Network, so be sure to visit their website to check out some of our other favorite local podcasts. And catch up with our past episodes on iTunes or Stitcher, or just type "Local Vibes" in to your Spotify search bar and find us that way.

[From left] Ryan Pitkin, Sasha Kolpakov, Vadim Kolpakov and Mark Kemp.
  • [From left] Ryan Pitkin, Sasha Kolpakov, Vadim Kolpakov and Mark Kemp.

Friday, March 16, 2018

Listen Up: AfroPop! Nation Expands its Empire on 'Local Vibes'

Episode 34

Posted By and on Fri, Mar 16, 2018 at 11:08 AM

In the lead up to the big "Bantu Experience" party at the Gantt Center on March 17, we brought in two of the three co-founders of AfroPop! Nation: Ifeanyi Ibeto, aka DJ Kato; and April Hood. We talked with the duo about the beginnings of their Afrocentric party promotions, African culture in America, appropriation and more.

For those who prefer the written word, be sure to check out Mark Kemp's feature on AfroPop! Nation from this week's print issue. And of course, catch up with all our past episode on iTunes and Stitcher, or just type "Local Vibes" into your Spotify search bar and find us there.

[Left to right] Mark Kemp, April Hood, Ifeanyi Ibeto and Ryan Pitkin
  • [Left to right] Mark Kemp, April Hood, Ifeanyi Ibeto and Ryan Pitkin

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Listen Up: Jah-Monte Brings the Baby to 'Local Vibes'

Episode 33

Posted By and on Thu, Mar 8, 2018 at 11:05 AM

On the heels of releasing his new EP, ReaL LiFe, Jah-Monte came by the podcast studio at Hygge West to discuss his alter ego, King Callis, and how his new tracks differ greatly from his last release, Testing Her Creation

He also brought a special guest, his 7-month-old daughter, who kinda-sorta gets on the mic a couple times to let us know how she's feeling.

As always, catch up with our past episodes on iTunes or Stitcher, or just type 'Local Vibes' in your Spotify search bar.

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Friday, March 2, 2018

GRAPHIC VIDEO: CMPD Releases Body Cam Footage of February Police Shooting

Videos give glimpse into troubled psychological background of victim

Posted By on Fri, Mar 2, 2018 at 4:18 PM

A still shot from the body cam footage of Officer Dunn, who arrived after the shooting and took command of the crime scene.
  • A still shot from the body cam footage of Officer Dunn, who arrived after the shooting and took command of the crime scene.

This afternoon, CMPD officials released body cam footage related to the February 2 shooting of 27-year-old Charlie Shoupe by a CMPD officer in west Charlotte.

The videos, which have been posted to the city of Charlotte's website and YouTube, include footage from the officer who fired on Shoupe and three other officers on the scene that day, as well as two officers who went to Shoupe's home on Timberbrook Drive the previous day.

According to CMPD, officers were called to Shoupe's home 11 times in the year leading up to his shooting. Footage from February 1 gives a glimpse into a troubled home life and Shoupe's concerns with the medication he was taking, including Haldol, which is used to treat various mental disorders.

Officers arrived to Shoupe's home and spoke with both Shoupe and his mother. His mother told officers she was concerned that he had smoked marijuana the previous day with his brother and had not taken his medication. She said that Shoupe was a diagnosed schizophrenic and that it ran in her family.

For his part, Shoupe told police that he believed his schizophrenia was a misdiagnosis and he only suffered from a form of autism. He remained calm throughout the time officers were at his home. He told officers he believed he could read people's minds with "thought machines," and that he didn't feel the need to take his medicine anymore.

"I know what's right for me. I don't want to take any medicine because it makes me feel even worse than I did before," Shoupe tells Officer Ignaczak in the footage. "I'm trying to see if I can develop happiness again because that medicine decreases dopamine and makes me feel just dull. Like, somebody could say a joke and I wouldn't even laugh."

Shoupe refused to be transported to a hospital to see a doctor, and his mother later allowed him back in the apartment and told officers they could go. The next day, he was shot and killed by Officer Daniel Flynn after running toward him with a knife in the parking lot of the same apartment.

Footage from Flynn's body camera shows him arrive on the scene, where Shoupe can be seen running toward his car with a knife held above his shoulder in a stabbing position. Flynn exits his vehicle and orders Shoupe to get on the ground, but Shoupe runs in his direction. Eight seconds later, with the view of the body camera obstructed, Flynn fires nine shots.

Footage from other officers on the scene show efforts to save Shoupe, while others work to preserve the crime scene and gather contact information from witnesses.

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Listen Up: Chócala's Ortiz Siblings Get To Know Each Other on 'Local Vibes'

Episode 32

Posted By and on Fri, Mar 2, 2018 at 11:08 AM

Liza and Claudio Ortiz of Chócala, the band that's taken over Snug Harbor for a March residency, have rarely been apart throughout their lives. They've went from being home-schooled and starring in comedic home video performances together to playing shows together with Patabamba and now Chócala.

So you'd think they know each other pretty well, right? We put that to the test right out of the gate in Episode 32, and talk to the sibling musicians about how their mother inspired them creatively and why Chócala is an experimental Latin jam band for people who can't stand jam bands.

Don't forget to catch up with past episodes on iTunes or Stitcher, or just type "Local Vibes" right into your Spotify search bar and find us there.

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Thursday, March 1, 2018

Police Address CMS Threats Following Florida School Shooting

Officers respond to four incidents in a day

Posted By on Thu, Mar 1, 2018 at 3:33 PM

A school flag flies at half staff following the Feb. 18 slaying of 17 students at a Florida high school.
  • A school flag flies at half staff following the Feb. 18 slaying of 17 students at a Florida high school.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department officials held a press conference this morning to address a string of incidents involving threats of violence in Charlotte-Mecklenburg schools in the aftermath of a shooting that took 17 lives a high school in Parkland, Florida, on February 18. Assistant Chief Vicki Foster hosted the press conference the day after four incidents occurred in schools in the southwest Charlotte area, including bullying, threats and the confiscation of a handgun on school grounds.

On Wednesday, February 28, Charlotte-Mecklenburg School Police Department officers were notified of a weapon on South Mecklenburg High School’s campus. During the investigation, they found Fernando Vasquez, 17, had left a firearm in his vehicle during his baseball practice. He was charged with possession of a firearm on school property.

Earlier that morning, police made contact with a student who had allegedly made threats involving shooting a school bus at Community House Middle School. The school resource officer and principal there contacted the suspect and spoke with his parents. Officers said they will follow up with the student and his family before he is allowed back on campus. Later that night, another threat was made against the school on Snapchat, according to police.

Social media threats were also made toward Southwest Middle School. A student reported that they received a message on social media threatening violence at the school. Detectives charged a 14-year-old female juvenile in connection with those threats.

Also on Wednesday afternoon, school resource officers at Kennedy Middle School received information about students throwing food and objects at the back of another student’s head while in class. As the victim left the room, the victim was slapped across the back of the head then turned and made a comment to the students, according to police, thought it’s unclear what that comment was.

Foster emphasized that all threats at schools will be taken seriously and those communicating them will be held responsible. CMPD is investigating all of these incidents, and asks that anyone with information concerning them or the suspects should be reported to the Crime Stoppers line at 704-334-1600.

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Thursday, February 22, 2018

Listen Up: Erick Lottary Drops New Heat on 'Local Vibes'

Episode 31

Posted By on Thu, Feb 22, 2018 at 12:00 PM

When Charlotte rapper Erick Lottary agreed to come on the podcast, he told Ryan he'd play a never-before-heard track on air. Once he got in the studio, though, he felt the 'Vibes' and decided to play us three tracks off the new project.

We also did some talking, too. Lott tells us about expanding beyond the Queen City as he prepares for another busy year at SXSW. Shome also dropped in fresh from the barber chair for the last segment, and he and Erick discussed why presentation is important if you want to start playing the bigger venues in Charlotte.

As always, catch up with our past episodes on iTunes or Stitcher. Or, you can now just type "Local Vibes" into the Spotify search bar and that's an easy way to find all our episodes on the go.

[From left] Shome, Ryan Pitkin and Erick Lottary.
  • [From left] Shome, Ryan Pitkin and Erick Lottary.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Billy Graham's Other Legacy

An honest look at the famous evangelist's views on war, Jews and homosexuality

Posted By on Wed, Feb 21, 2018 at 7:00 AM

In the days following Billy Graham's death, there will be no shortage of obituaries and profiles in newspapers and TV news stations extolling the brighter and more positive portions of Graham's legacy. Indeed, in the minutes and hours after Graham's death was announced, reporters and journalists joined in the social media swirl — tweeting, posting and sharing overly generous words about the man and his work in the world. One early report said Graham eschewed fundamentalism for a more welcoming Gospel message — quite a stretch for those who were the targets of Graham's prejudice.

We should take a more complete and nuanced look at this famous preacher's legacy, taking the good with the bad, and wrestling with the reality of a complex man, not just the myth created by media hype.

Matt Comer
  • Matt Comer

As a gay man and, like Graham, a Baptist, the famous evangelist's religious views on homosexuality have often hit me the hardest. In 2012, as the anti-gay marriage amendment debate roiled in North Carolina, Graham and his association came out swinging in favor of the new constitutional provision. At the time, many were saddened that Graham would seek to tarnish his otherwise welcoming legacy by taking a position on such a divisive topic. But it wasn't the first time Graham had weighed in on LGBT issues, and his rhetoric in the past had been far more hateful.

Graham believed homosexuality to be a "a sinister form of perversion," a view he reiterated in 1973 to a young lesbian who wrote into his popular question-and-answer column.

Calling homosexuality an "ungodly spirit of self-gratification" and an "insidious temptation," Graham told the girl, "We traffic in homosexuality at the peril of our spiritual welfare."

I wonder how many LGBT teenagers suffered more because of Graham's words, read by their parents, teachers, pastors and other adults in their lives?

Billy's own son, Franklin, was certainly listening to his father's lessons on human sexuality. Today, Franklin Graham — heir to his father's global non-profit and president of his own, Samaritan's Purse — routinely attacks LGBT people as perverts, child molesters and criminals. In 2014, Franklin even praised Russia's Vladimir Putin and his violent crackdown on LGBT people. Putin, Franklin said, had "taken a stand to protect his nation's children from the damaging effects of any gay and lesbian agenda."

Much like his son's fixation on a dark and nefarious "gay agenda," Graham had conspiratorial fears of his own regarding the Jewish people. Graham's anti-Semitic beliefs had been revealed more than two decades ago, when Richard Nixon's chief of staff H.R. Haldeman said Graham had blamed "satanic Jews" for the nation's problems.

Graham denied those remarks in 1994.

"Those are not my words," Graham said at the time. "I have never talked publicly or privately about the Jewish people, including conversations with President Nixon, except in the most positive terms."

Billy Graham
  • Billy Graham

Graham's anti-Semitism was fully uncovered in 2002, when a secretly recorded conversation with Nixon was released. Meeting with Nixon, Graham agreed with the disgraced president that the nation's media was "totally dominated by the Jews."

Graham accused Jewish media owners of being responsible for the nation's pornography "problem."

"This stranglehold has got to be broken or the country's going down the drain," Graham said. "I can't ever say that but I believe it," Graham continued, encouraging Nixon to win re-election so that "then we might be able to do something."

Graham never sincerely apologized for those remarks, repeatedly claiming he never recalled making them to begin with.

But nothing in Graham's legacy, perhaps, compares to his support in 1969 of a military action that could have killed upwards of one million North Vietnamese.

After meeting with missionaries in Vietnam, Graham wrote to Nixon, encouraging the president to step up the war if peace talks were to fail. Graham suggested bombing dikes across North Vietnam, an act Graham said that "could overnight destroy" their economy.

That any man of God could suggest such a violent war crime boggles the mind.

Some in the media will highlight these parts of Graham's legacy, but many won't. We'll hear about his uplifting, encouraging words of faith, and not much about his words of condemnation, rejection and hate. We'll hear about his progressive works of peace and grace — his friendship with Martin Luther King, Jr., and his tempered approach to Islamic relations — and rightfully so, but we'll hear little about his suggestions that would have made for a more violent world and sent millions to their graves.

For a better, more complete understanding of Graham, and of ourselves, we should be more honest in our reflections of a man whose decades-long work will, no doubt, be remembered for many lifetimes to come. As this history is written, let's leave the rose-colored myth out of it.

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