State briefs roundup

Published 11:55 pm Saturday, July 24, 2021

Firefighters rescue 6 kids from burning Charlotte home

CHARLOTTE (AP) — Six children were rescued from a house fire in North Carolina that investigators blamed on a clothes dryer, firefighters said Friday.

The Charlotte Fire Department says the fire occurred at a two-story home north of downtown Charlotte, news outlets reported.

The department said one of the children and a firefighter had to be evaluated by county emergency medical personnel. In all, officials say three adults, nine children and some family pets were displaced.

Investigators believe the fire started accidentally in a dryer. According to the fire department, the fire caused about $40,000 in damages.

Police: 2 dead after interstate shooting

DURHAM (AP) — Two men have been found shot to death inside a car on an Interstate 85 exit ramp, police in North Carolina said.

The shooting happened late Friday afternoon in Durham and both men were pronounced dead at the scene, news outlets reported.

Officers told TV station WRAL  it appeared the driver and passenger were targeted. Mourners gathered at the scene, the station reported.

Successful drone trial delivers supplies to Ocracoke Island

OCRACOKE (AP) — North Carolina transportation officials say successful drone flights this week to Ocracoke have them hopeful that it may soon get easier to deliver vital supplies to the remote Outer Banks island amid bad weather.

The North Carolina Department of Transportation’s Division of Aviation and U.S.-based drone logistics company Volansi completed two successful trial flights of a delivery drone from a ferry dock in Hatteras to Ocracoke Island, the department said in a news release Friday.

“This is a tremendous first step in better connecting Ocracoke Island to potentially life-saving supplies and equipment,” Secretary of Transportation Eric Boyette said in a statement. “Today, Ocracoke Island is accessible only by plane or by boat. What we’re working on here is an entirely new, third method of serving the needs of Ocracoke’s people.”

The tests conducted Thursday involved an eight-mile round-trip flight averaging 18 minutes in flight time. The first delivered a small survival kit, space blankets and a chocolate muffin to Ocracoke, while the second delivered bottles of water, according to the news release.

The next test, at a time to be determined, will involve a longer flight, the department said.

Ocracoke suffered tremendous damage when Hurricane Dorian struck  in September 2019, launching a 7-foot storm surge over parts of the island’s village, which measures about a square mile. Medics and other rescuers had to rush to the island.

Dealership apologizes for derogatory term for Black customer

LUMBERTON (AP) — A North Carolina car dealership has apologized for a derogatory term posted to its social media to identify a Black woman who bought a car from the business.

Lumberton Honda posted a picture Thursday on its Facebook page of Trinity Bethune standing in front of a car outside of the dealership and a comment congratulating her on buying her first car, news outlets reported. But instead of using her real name, they called her “Bon Quisha.” While the dealership has not explained the mistake, it appeared to play on stereotypes of Black names.

“It’s something people use toward Black people as a racial slur and an offensive term,” Bethune told WTVD. “If I’m addressed, I should be addressed as Trinity Bethune.”

Tyrone Jacob, who identified himself as Bethune’s brother, posted a screen grab of the dealership’s post and called it “intentional, disgusting, unfair.”

“The independently-owned dealer posted the comment in question,” Marcus Frommer, spokesman for Honda North America, said in an email. “Honda strongly condemns the use of discriminatory remarks and we expect our dealers to uphold our principles. We are investigating.”

The post was removed from the page, and the dealership offered the apology Friday, expressing regret for “the recent inappropriate post towards one of our valued customers.” The post suggested that an employee made the original comment and no longer works there.

“The action of this former employee does not represent the views or culture of our company,” the statement said. “Lumberton Honda has been a part of the community for over 18 years, serving thousands of customers of all ethnicities. This incident reminds us that there is always room for improvement.”

Subsequent comments posted by people on the dealership’s Facebook page urged those who bought cars there to take them back.

Settlement reached over 2020 police clash with protesters

CHARLOTTE (AP) — Civil rights groups in North Carolina have reached a settlement with the city of Charlotte and its police department in a lawsuit filed last year after officers surrounded and gassed demonstrators protesting the death of George Floyd.

The terms of the agreement include extensive revisions to police directives, including a ban on the use of CS tear gas during protests, the ACLU of North Carolina said in a news release Friday. Police will also be banned from using chemical weapons to “kettle” or trap protesters under the agreement, which also says crowd dispersal orders must be communicated clearly and repeatedly in English and Spanish, allowing protesters reasonable time to disperse.

“People should not be brutalized when they are exercising their right to protest,” Kristie Puckett-Williams, statewide manager of the ACLU of North Carolina’s Campaign for Smart Justice, said in a statement Friday.

The groups’ lawsuit accused police of orchestrating a violent attack on hundreds of peaceful protesters during a protest over Floyd’s killing on June 2, 2020. The clash was captured on video and sparked outrage.