Panthers game offers return to game day revelry, with protests n - | WBTV Charlotte

Panthers game offers return to game day revelry, with protests nearby

(Sharon Smith | WBTV) (Sharon Smith | WBTV)
(Sharon Smith | WBTV) (Sharon Smith | WBTV)

The Panthers fell short Sunday, but perhaps what took place a few blocks from the stadium matters more than the score.

The game was declared an “extraordinary event” by the City of Charlotte as protests continued following the shooting of 43-year-old Keith Lamont Scott by a Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department officer Tuesday. Police have said Scott was armed and posed a threat after repeatedly refusing their commands; Scott’s family has said he did not have a gun and that he lived with a traumatic brain injury following a motorcycle accident.

There was concern clashes between police and protesters could escalate with a larger platform presented by an NFL game and thousands of fans heading
into uptown.

"I saw a couple people trying to make a scene but everything seemed fine," said fan Mark McCarthy.

The restaurant was one of many ready for business after a very slow week, where uptown workers left early or were told to stay home. The City’s nightlife faded out as protestors took over the streets several nights in a row. Our business has probably dropped about 50 percent, said managing partner George Photopoulos at the French Quarter.

Photopoulos said there was no line outside the door like usual on game days, but at least their doors were open. “We had second thoughts, just strictly for our employees’ safety,” he said. “We didn't know what to expect,” he added.

Across the street at Romare Bearden Park, what was expected never materialized. People passing out peace flowers in the park had fewer takers since a unity concert was canceled at the last minute.

RELATED: 'Hear Me Now' concert postponed to next weekend

The concert had several singers and entertainers committed, including Fantasia Barrino who took to social media to publicize the event. She later
said city leaders requested they reschedule, in light of the home game demands on security.

DJ Phalse ID who performs throughout Charlotte turned his disappointment about the cancellation around. “We're doing something different just trying to show people that we're still here,” he said pointing to his friends who passed out flowers.

They lingered as families lounged in the park and bantered with strangers. Park rangers kept watch to make sure no large gatherings formed.

Panthers fans at The French Quarter enjoyed rehashing the game and just hanging out.

After a week of tension and protests, it seemed like an effort to be a community that enjoys one another. The problems Charlotte faces remain. They will not go away with one good evening along one stretch of uptown.

Still DJ Phalse ID stayed positive. “I'm not from Charlotte myself but I love the city. It’s a great place to be,” he said.

“I get both sides. It's hard. You just want everyone to be happy and get along,” said Photopoulos.

It’s just one city block of unity. A few blocks away from protestors and police.

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