CHARLOTTE, N.C. (QUEEN CITY NEWS) – Law enforcement from Union County to Charlotte is dealing with a growing problem. Teens committing crimes, and police asking for help.
“It takes every parent to know what your kids are doing, where they are, what they are carrying in their book bags,” said CMPD chief, Johnny Jennings in a video posted on the department’s Twitter page. “And it is incumbent on every parent to know what their children are saying and doing on social media.”Even if all that is true, there are laws to protect juveniles, which may not protect the public. The Juvenile Justice Reinvestment Act, also known as the Raise the Age law, raised the cut-off age for juveniles from 16 to 18.
“As it relates to students and violence and things of that nature it is extremely tough,” said Walter Bowers, managing partner, at Wooden Bowers Law, PLLC. “Students have protections as it relates to their identities and things of that nature so sometimes, law enforcement is very limited on what it can share.”
An example is the recent shooting at Eastridge mall in Gastonia.
A 17-year-old male shot and injured an 18-year-old male after a verbal altercation. A 24-year-old woman and a 42-year-old man were also injured.
The name of the 17-year-old and the photo of the teen was not released by police, they only said he is facing numerous felonies, and the public may never know the identity unless the teen is charged as an adult, a decision up to the grand jury.
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Bowers, a former CMPD officer, says there should be a little leeway in the law because people want to know who their children are hanging out with or if a teen in their neighborhood presents a danger.
“When a juvenile commits a violent crime, I think the public has a right to know,” added Bowers. “I think those protections are erased when a person does something that is a crime that is dangerous to life. In my opinion, we should have the right to know who those individuals are just so we can continue to be more aware.”