One year later, CMPD Major revisits memorable moments of Keith Scott unrest

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - There are certain images from the protests following the shooting death of Keith Scott that will forever be etched into our minds.

Many of them involve Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Major Mike Campagna.

While walking 60 miles with demonstrators that week, he became an unofficial face of the unrest. One year later, he revisited the spots that stuck with him.

"When you're back in here you can't help but think about the windows getting kicked out here," he said while driving down Trade street. "The clouds of fog that were out here. The smoke and the tear gas. Yeah. Those were significant moments in the life of our city".

He first took us to CMPD headquarters.

"There were still marchers around downtown and they kind of converged on the police station," he said.

He continued to describe the Wednesday afternoon, just 24 hours after Scott was shot and killed when a conversation began between him and a protester.

"He was saying things about how he wanted us to view him as human, us to view him as a person. I just sad to him, hey, that's the same thing we want people to recognize police officers are human beings too," he said.

It's there where Campagna's week of dialogue began.

"It was kind of a turning moment. They may walk away from you and not agree with you but at least people appreciated the fact that we stopped and had that conversation," he said.

Campagna then drove down Trade to the Epicenter.

"Out here at Trade and College, it's kinda where our hopes for a peaceful night were dashed," Campagna said.

The protests on Wednesday began peacefully and then took a turn for the worst.

"When the window's started getting broken and that's when I knew that what we had seen Tuesday night was, unfortunately, going to carry into Wednesday night," he said.

Campagna's final stop was in front of the Omni Hotel, where police say protester Justin Carr was shot and killed by Rayquan Borum, who was also involved in the demonstrations.

"When I heard the shot and saw the crowds moving away, I was obviously concerned because now I'm thinking, there's someone in this crowd with a gun," he said.

Borum has pleaded not guilty. His attorney has since said his client did have a gun with him that night, but that he did not shoot Carr. There are some who believe Carr was gunned down by police. But Campagna says there's zero evidence to back that up.

"Many people, when they got away from the immediate emotion of that could understand. But there are still many people who to this day don't believe that and all I can say is it will have its moment in court," Campagna said.

While two days that week were violent, Campagna wishes people remember the other four that were not.

A year later, he says his department and his city have changed for the better. But he believes that will only continue if the conversation does.

"I'd hate for that to be the legacy and what Charlotte is known for and we have an opportunity to change that," he said.

In the weeks following the unrest, Campagna was promoted to Major and now works full-time at the police academy training new recruits.

Copyright 2017 WBTV. All rights reserved.