CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - Officers were injured, businesses were damaged and at least 30 people were arrested in Charlotte Saturday night and early Sunday morning during the second round of protests over the death of George Floyd.
Crowds grew throughout the day Saturday. The demonstrations started early Saturday and continued throughout the day and into the night.
Police said that at least 30 protesters were arrested over the last few hours of the demonstrations and into the morning hours. The charges range from assault to illegal gun possession to possession of a dangerous weapon at a demonstration.
Business were damaged throughout the night. Officers found shell casings inside the Panera Bread restaurant and BB&T bank. Kings Kitchen and Discovery Place also incurred expensive damage.
As the protest escalated, a group of protesters threw rocks at firefighters who were responding to an emergency call uptown.
Just before 9:30 p.m., about 150 protesters gathered in front of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police headquarters.
CMPD said that at least three protesters were arrested soon after. Two were arrested on gun charges - one a handgun and the other a rifle. The third arrest was a person who was charged with assaulting a government official.
One CMPD officer sustained a minor injury and was transported to the hospital by Medic for evaluation.
The chants reverberated through uptown, “No justice, no peace” and “Black Lives Matter.”
Protesters inched closer to police officers and crowds continued to fill East Trade street from CMPD headquarters to the transit center.
The Federal Reserve, close to CMPD headquarters, had its American Flag turned up upside down by someone.
Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Chief Kerr Putney spoke to WBTV in the middle of the protests.
“We are devastated and disappointed that a life has been lost, tragically,” Putney said. “People are becoming overly emotional, and becoming violent, which is the most disappointing thing.”
His officers were struck with rocks and bottles.
In the middle of the outbursts, Putney credited the bravery of those officers.
“I wish I could put it into words. It is humbling,” Putney said. “I get emotional thinking about it, and seeing what they are sacrificing and how they are sacrificing for the betterment of this city. They’ve been putting in a lot of work building relationships. Now, the perception is that we haven’t made any progress.”
Putney later released a statement about how his department handled the crowds:
Just before 11:30 p.m., a man walking near a WBTV reporter along the sidewalk fell through a vent for the parking deck.
WBTV reporter Bria Bell said those protesters started screaming for help instantly, and because of everything, it took some time for police to realize someone was hurt.
Police used its Chemical Riot Control in an attempt to disperse the crowd.
Officers wore tactical gear, while protesters confronted them.
Some demonstrators called officers “murderers” and played songs with a theme about police brutality, according to Bell, who was at the scene.
Protesters pelted officers with rocks, and officers fired off pepper bullets and tear gas.
At 10 p.m., officers gave protesters a warning before initiating arrests.
In total, they reported arresting 30 people.
Earlier, around 8:30 p.m., dozens of people made their way to I-277, where traffic was stopped due to the demonstrators in the roadway. Charlotte-Mecklenburg police say around 100 protestors attempted to block the I-277 ramp at 4th Street. “Officers are continuing to request protesters to leave on-ramp,” CMPD tweeted.
Police gave multiple orders for the protesters to disperse I-277. Officers eventually had to respond to the scene in riot gear.
Curtis Hayes, who also protested in Charlotte when Keith Lamont Scott was killed by a CMPD officer in 2016, shared his frustration.
He was hoping this demonstration would stay peaceful.
“The purpose is to make people understand that black people are here and we aren’t going anywhere,” Hayes said. “The purpose of this is historic, it just happens. People protest and they have the right to do so. Things have a habit of repeating.
“People want to voice their opinion, but no one is listening.”
Protesters then moved to the steps of the CMPD headquarters, and many filled the streets on E. Trade Street, blocking traffic.
Police shot pellets at an escalating crowd.
An exodus of people took the ramp onto the highway.
The day-long demonstrations were in response to to the death of George Floyd, a black man who died while a Minnesota police officer knelt on his head less than a week earlier.
Floyd was seen on video telling officers “I can’t breathe.” He then lost consciousness and died on the streets on Minneapolis.
The actions of law enforcement have led to many demonstrations across the country. Police departments, both locally and nationally, have condemned the actions of the Minneapolis Police Department.
*WARNING: THIS IS LIVE VIDEO, BEWARE FOR POSSIBILITY OF STRONG LANGUAGE*
Demonstrations were organized in uptown Charlotte, near the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Headquarters and the Mecklenburg County Courthouse.
This group is starting marching through uptown, on its way to the police headquarters, “no justice, no peace.”
There were lots of cheers when one of the pastor acknowledged that there’s “Black, White, Asian and Latino people who make up the entire group.”
“Black Lives Matter” chants continued to echo.
The crowd also continued to sing “Amazing Grace.”
“Sometimes black people’s voices tend to me muted and unheard. George Floyd was saying multiple times that he couldn’t breathe,” a protester said. “I’m not going to say that no one heard him. I’m going to say they chose not to.
“When you get white people out here saying they are outraged by it, that’s really when you are going to see the impact because they are the majority and they do have the access to the resources, and the rights and respect the rest of us don’t have.”
A crowd of protesters then left CMPD and marched past the Epicentre toward Romare Bearden Park.
Protesters knelt in the middle of uptown roads, and formed human chains to block off the Transit Center.
The crowds continued to grow throughout the evening.
WBTV even saw restaurant staff and uptown construction works clap in support of the movement.
Just after 7 p.m., hundreds of people joined the crowd along East Trade Street near CMPD Headquarters.
The group chanted “this is what democracy looks like” and “hands up, don’t shoot” and it moved down Trade Street.
Earlier, WBTV was at a peaceful “White Allies” demonstration at Marshall Park in uptown Charlotte.
The protest invited people to “show up, stand up and show out.”
Jennifer Moxley, one of the event’s organizers, said “White silence must end.”
Other protesters made their points known with signs, letting those in the black community that many in the white community are standing with them.
“White people own this issue and we need to stand with Black brothers and sisters,” said one protester at Marshall Park.
Others spoke out.
“You guys are starting to see, and we appreciate you,” said a man who spoke at the White Allies protest.
Peaceful demonstrations turned violent last night when rioters threw rocks and explosives at CMPD officers and damaged police property and community businesses. Police say that about 15 people were arrested failing to disperse on Friday.
Three officers suffered minor injuries.
On Friday night, about 250 protesters gathered outside of the Beatties Ford CMPD precinct. Charlotte police were standing guard at the front of the building. CMPD said their Civil Emergency Unit was deployed and declared the gathering an unlawful assembly.
Police tweeted that several protesters started to throw rocks and objects at officers as they continued to facilitate protesters’ right to demonstrate. Police also tweeted that several protesters had damaged police cruisers and continued to throw rocks at officers and the Metro Division office.
Charlotte police told a WBTV reporter that protesters looted the Food Lion on Beatties Ford Road. Police say they smashed windows using bricks and were inside for about 15 minutes. This grocery store is about 0.5 miles from the police station
CMPD Police Chief Kerr Putney confirmed Charlotte City Council member at-large Braxton Winston was arrested during the protest for failure to disperse. Winston was seen in the area during the protest, speaking with both police and protesters.
Derek Chauvin, the Minneapolis police officer, seen with his knee on Floyd’s neck, was fired. Then, on Friday, he was arrested and charged with second-degree manslaughter and third-degree murder.