CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - Charlotte police are providing new information, applauding peaceful demonstrations that took place in Charlotte Sunday, but also delving into the violence and criminal activity that broke out later into the night.
The protests in Charlotte are related to protests all over the world against police brutality and injustice, in response to the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery, among other incidents in history.
On Sunday around 1 p.m., CMPD says two separate groups were lawfully protesting, starting at First Ward and Romare Bearden Parks and estimated to have a crowd of more than 1,500 people who marched in parts of uptown Charlotte.
Police say the group expressed their viewpoints lawfully throughout their demonstrations which allowed the CMPD to not only facilitate the protest, but also have constructive conversations with those demonstrating.
Shortly after 6 p.m., police say another large group of people started gathering and marching in uptown Charlotte. These protests also remained lawful for several hours allowing CMPD to engage in constructive dialogue. Several community activists were involved to unify perspectives during conversations.
Later in the evening, police say protesters became violent and began throwing rocks, explosives and other objects at officers. CMPD’s Civil Emergency Unit (CEU) deployed and gave multiple orders to disperse. Police say some people continued to actively assault officers, so Riot Control Agents (RCA) were used to disperse those who were threatening the safety of officers and other community members.
Throughout the night and into the early-morning hours, several people continued to assault officers, threaten other community members and damage businesses. Police say a large number of these people were intent on harming officers, leading to an officer being hit in the face by a rock. The officer was taken to the hospital with what was believed to be a broken jaw, and after diagnostic testing and treatment, he was released from the hospital.
Two additional officers also had to get medical treatment for injuries they sustained from violence the day before. One officer suffered an eye injury after an explosive device was thrown at police. Police say several people involved in late night riot activity were also witnessed and videoed throwing rocks at businesses, breaking windows and defacing public areas in uptown with messages of hate.
Police say this destruction lead to the arrest of 25 rioters. Two of the seven rioters arrested for assault on a government official were 15 and 17 year-old juveniles. Four other rioters were arrested and found in possession of a firearm they brought with them, and one of these four was a 16-year-old juvenile. All four firearms were confiscated by police.
CMPD released a list of those charged as a result of their involvement in the violence, including Sedalia Grey, Tyrone Weathers, Denzel King, Andrew Barr-Jones, Tazhia Petitt, John-Alec Mitchell, Joseph Augustine, Davag’io Anderson, Shallah Glover, Jasmine White, John Santos, Haywood McCree, Derrick Willis, Daquan Harris, Christian Castro, Saul Gonzalez, Isaiah Dennis-Bey, Alexander Dundorf, Alexander Simon, Birane Sene, Damarius Potts, Rekale McCaskill, a 15-year-old, a 16-year-old and a 17-year-old.
The following are a few of several cases that happened during the early-morning hours of June 1, with preliminary investigations leading CMPD to believe they are a direct result of looting:
Shortly after 3:05 a.m., officers responded to reports of a crash at Carolina Sporting Arms on South Boulevard. The investigation revealed a suspect used a stolen vehicle to ram the front door of the business with the intent to break into it, but did not make entry.
Shortly after 12:20 a.m., officers responded to reports of an alarm at the National Pawn Shop on East Independence Boulevard. They arrived to find a vehicle had been used to ram the business and allow a large number of suspects to enter and steal large amounts of merchandise.
Shortly after 3:30 a.m., officers received reports of a second breaking and entering at the same pawn shop. A large group of suspects returned and continued to steal property from inside the business. An employee remaining on scene was shot at by one of the suspects fleeing the scene, and the vehicle the victim was in was shot into.
Shortly before 1:50 a.m., officers responded to reports of more than 20 people who were attempting to break into the Walmart located on Wilkinson Boulevard. Officers arrived and arrested two suspects, Shirlene Blakeney and Clotisha Roberson. They were both charged with breaking and entering, conspiracy to commit breaking and entering and larceny after breaking and entering.
“The unifying efforts of the community members who were actively involved in fostering peace and a dialogue of understanding played a large role in the constructive conversations that happened between demonstrators and police. These spirited conversations are what will lead to an even stronger community set on breaking down all barriers that divide the community. The CMPD is dedicated to an inclusive and unified community and is resolute in working with the community to create a safe and healthy environment for all,” a CMPD press release read.
CMPD is continuing to investigate all criminal activity and prevent the harm and destruction caused by the violent acts of rioting. Anyone with information about any crime is asked to call 911 or leave that information anonymously with Crime Stoppers at 704-334-1600 or http://charlottecrimestoppers.com/.