Afternoon Observer | NC cop attacked Black woman at traffic stop, lawsuit says + Meet this banker by day, artist by night

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Good afternoon, Charlotte. This is Kristen, hoping you’re all having a lovely Tuesday so far. I want to kick things off today by introducing you to another of my talented colleagues here at the Observer. Our Meet the Reporter series continues this week featuring Alison Kuznitz, who covers local government in the Charlotte area, and most recently, the COVID-19 pandemic. Meet her here, and be sure to catch up on her recent reporting.

Now, let’s talk news:

1. NC cop attacked Black woman at traffic stop, lawsuit says

Studies of North Carolina traffic stops reveal a disconcerting truth: Police pull over, search and arrest Black drivers at a higher rate than others. Observer analyses in 2015 and 2020 of Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police stops found that while Black people make up only 35% of the county’s population, Black drivers were involved in 57% of traffic stops.

A new federal lawsuit brings those statistics to life. In the complaint, a Black driver from Charlotte, Danielle Downing, describes a brutal encounter during an April 2018 police stop in Mooresville.

According to the complaint:

  • The officer, Josh Barlow, asked for her license and registration without explaining why he had stopped her.

  • Downing handed over her license, but told the officer that she had misplaced her registration. When she found it, it was in a pouch that she handed to the officer.

  • He shoved the pouch back at her and in “a loud and abrupt tone of voice” ordered her to give him only the card.

  • She asked for a second, and he ordered her to get out of the car, threatening to break her window.

  • Before she had time to get out, Barlow began pounding on her window with his billy club. She was showered by glass as the window broke.

At no point did Barlow ever tell her why she had been stopped, according to the complaint. Read about the harrowing sequence of events with the Observer’s Michael Gordon in this subscriber exclusive.

2. Meet the BofA VP who moonlights as a filmmaker, actor and advocate

Jinna Kim, shown in front of the Levine Museum of the New South in Charlotte, has spent almost a decade acting in Charlotte after starting as a background extra in the series “Homeland.” Kim has also directed her own film, but her main profession is writing patents for Bank of America.

Jinna Kim, shown in front of the Levine Museum of the New South in Charlotte, has spent almost a decade acting in Charlotte after starting as a background extra in the series “Homeland.” Kim has also directed her own film, but her main profession is writing patents for Bank of America.

Jinna Kim isn’t afraid to fail, and she isn’t afraid to get creative. “I’ve been rejected thousands of times, so I stopped counting,” she says. “I don’t think about the odds. Every day has new opportunities.”

An interdisciplinary artist, Kim is an actor, a model, a photographer, a writer and a filmmaker. She also works for Bank of America with the Enterprise Payments team, where she was recently promoted to senior vice president. At her day job, she has co-filed 17 patent applications to date. In the art world, she has been cast in more than 100 productions and has made a documentary.

While the worlds of banking and art may seem like very different ones to navigate, Kim’s approach remains consistent, as Observer arts correspondent Liz Rothaus reports. She leans in — through all of her work — with creativity, innovation and determination.

Learn more about Kim’s approach here.

3. Artificial intelligence education at UNCC gets $1.5M boost from Lowe’s

On Tuesday, Lowe’s and UNC Charlotte announced a $1.5 million gift for the school’s College of Computing and Informatics. That gift will establish an endowed faculty position at UNCC focused on AI and machine learning.

For a school and a company already focused on tech, the announcement is welcome news.

  • UNCC has seen a nearly 200% increase in enrollment over the last decade for degrees in computer science, covering areas like cybersecurity, robotics and software engineering.

  • And it works out well for Lowe’s too, a company that says it’s looking to have “the best tech team in retail” and is building a 23-story tower in South End to expand its technology workforce.

Learn more about the deal here with the Observer’s Anna Douglas.

4. Where to get great Vietnamese food in Charlotte

Shrimp and Lemongrass Pork Vermicelli Bowls can be customized to a customer’s preference using the build-your-own option at Cilantro Noodle.

Shrimp and Lemongrass Pork Vermicelli Bowls can be customized to a customer’s preference using the build-your-own option at Cilantro Noodle.

There’s more to Vietnamese food than phở, and Charlotte has a rich community of Vietnamese restaurants to try out. Kadee Blakely of CharlotteFive has a roundup of 6 places to try out.

Some highlights:

5. Could the Panthers’ new trade leave them with more questions than answers?

Yesterday, the Carolina Panthers traded for New York Jets quarterback Sam Darnold. According to the Observer’s Alaina Getzenberg, the 23-year old former third-overall pick was unable to find success in his three seasons with the Jets. The question now: how will he perform for Carolina?

The Panthers put a lot on the line to get Darnold. And as Getzenberg puts it, “Trading a 2021 sixth-round pick and 2022 second- and fourth-round picks for Darnold doesn’t answer long-term questions for the Panthers. In fact, more questions than answers emerge.“

Read more of Getzenberg’s analysis of the situation here.

That’s all for today, folks. If you don’t already, subscribe to The Charlotte Observer here. If you’re already a subscriber (thanks!), download our iOS or Android app to get connected.

Stay updated with us at charlotteobserver.com, and follow along on Twitter and Instagram to see more from us. Thanks for reading!

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