CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The pandemic may have limited the Republican National Convention from tens of thousands of attendees to just hundreds, but that hasn’t deterred protesters from marching around uptown Charlotte.
Although the protests have been mostly peaceful, police have made over a dozen arrests the past few nights. Seven arrests were made Monday night.
Monday not only marked the start of the convention, but it was also the fourth day of demonstrations. Several hundred protesters gathered Monday evening in Marshall Park where one local group told Channel 9 there is a “hornets’ nest of resistance” in the city.
Protesters listened to about two dozen speakers. Before the event started some counter-protesters showed up, leading to a scuffle.
Channel 9′s veteran reporter Mark Becker was there and said the commotion didn’t last long, but once counter-protesters were gone, marchers turned their anger toward police.
Officers said late Monday afternoon they had to use pepper spray on a protester who was choking a woman and assaulted an officer. The protester was arrested and charged with assault.
Around 9:15 p.m., police said about 100 demonstrators left Marshall Park and began to march in uptown. A short time later, demonstrators lit something on fire in the middle of the road at Carson Street and South Tryon Street. When bike officers tried to put out the fire, police said a man refused to move and then lowered his shoulder to knock an officer off of his bike.
CMPD said another demonstrator was also seen throwing a rock, and pepper spray was deployed to protect officers. Officers were able to put out the fire and two arrests were made. CMPD also tweeted that protesters were in South End blocking roads with construction supplies.
Charlotte City Councilman Braxton Winston posted a video to his Facebook page, indicating he was streaming live with protesters in Charlotte Monday night.
In the video, you can see officers using their bikes to push crowds back. Then, they appeared to use pepper spray on people. It is unclear if Winston was hit with the spray.
More arrests were made after officers said a woman tried to cut down a flag outside police headquarters. Police said she was able to escape when several other protesters interfered. Officers again used pepper spray and four more arrests were made. Two people were hospitalized.
It was a very different scene outside the Convention Center where the president was speaking earlier in the day. When the president was at the podium, the perimeter of the building was tightly secured and it was calm outside.
Channel 9 saw a few pro-Trump supporters and a few anti-Trump people. Many people said they didn’t know the president was coming until the last minute, but the people who organized Monday’s protest said the on again-off again convention threw their planning off.
Like the RNC, protesters had to scale back their demonstrations when most of the convention went online, but they said their message that many parts of our community have been left behind since Donald Trump took office should still resonate.
Hours before the Republican National Convention was set to kick off, chants in opposition rang from the streets of uptown Charlotte.
When the Queen City landed the RNC, officials predicted there would be protests --and for the third straight day dozens of people gathered for mostly peaceful, yet tense demonstrations.
On Sunday, about 100 demonstrators met at Marshall Park around 9:30 p.m. before splitting into groups to march.
According to the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department, the groups met back up around 11 p.m. near South Tryon and East Stonewall streets where protesters started knocking down barricades, construction cones and trash cans into the road near the Black Lives Matter mural.
Protesters continued marching down the street, some could be heard chanting “No RNC in Charlotte.”
The department said at one point, protesters surrounded a truck and threw traffic cones at officers when they formed a line between the demonstrators and the truck to protect the people inside.
Police said one protester kicked an officer with his bicycle several times.
One person was caught on video Monday being arrested.
Five people were arrested during Sunday’s protest, according to CMPD.
Just before midnight Sunday, officers said they arrested 25-year-old Wilfred Nagbe, who was wanted for felony assault by strangulation, after recognizing him in the crowd. While making the arrest, police said Josselyn Farrior, 25, tried to stop them, so she was charged with assault on an officer for interfering with an arrest. Victor Richardson, 20, was charged with larceny for stealing a police bike. The bike has since been recovered.
About 30 minutes later, police said protesters returned to the Black Lives Matter mural and moved barricades into the middle of South College and East 4th streets. The group then blocked traffic, stopping CATS buses leaving the Transit Center. Officers said when they tried to clear the intersection, they were pushed by protesters, prompting them to use pepper spray to break up the crowd.
Queen City Nerve captured the tense moment on video and you can see umbrellas in the crowd as protesters tried to block the pepper spray.
During the clash, 33-year-old Kaki Metcalfe, and 26-year-old Julia Grainger were arrested and charged with resisting a public officer. Grainger was also charged with assault on an officer.
CMPD said five officers were treated for pepper spray exposure. One of them was taken to the hospital, but it expected to be OK. Police did not say if any protesters were hurt.
Last month, a judge ruled that the department can use pepper spray as a form of crowd control after protesters sued the department following the death of George Floyd.
Demonstrators showed up over the weekend and by the time Sunday night rolled around, police made several arrests.
Charlotte-Mecklenburg police said five people were arrested during the second night of protests in Charlotte.
Groups were protesting the RNC in Charlotte, which officially starts on Monday.
Officers said a group left Marshall Park at around 9 p.m. and began peacefully marching through uptown. Once the group got to College Street and East Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, police said they deployed pepper spray to stop a protester with a pole from advancing toward officers.
Just before 10 p.m., authorities learned that a protester riding a bicycle had a gun with them. Officers arrested Deandre Love, 23, and charged him with possession of a weapon at a protest.
As demonstrators continued to make their way through Charlotte, some people started placing objects, such as business signs, garbage cans, e-scooters and traffic cones in the road to block traffic. At around 11 p.m., authorities said pepper spray was also deployed on a protester who assaulted an officer.
CMPD said a group then surrounded a vehicle that was traveling through the intersection of South Caldwell Street and East 3rd Street. When officers responded to help, a protester was arrested for aggressively approaching police and trying to breach the officers’ perimeter, officials said.
Three additional people were also arrested during Saturday night’s protests.
Police said Shweta Malhorta, 38, and a 17-year-old man were charged with damage to property and resisting a public officer. Rachel Roush, 23, was charged with resisting a public officer, and Dawnya Little, 37, was charged with assaulting a government official.
On Friday night, police said four people were arrested after officers were assaulted during protests in uptown.
Charlotte-Mecklenburg police said a group of about 60 demonstrators left Marshall Park and began to march through uptown Charlotte at around 9 p.m Friday.
According to police, the protesters trespassed onto the light rail tracks at College Street and Martin Luther King Boulevard. The light rail service was temporarily paused while CMPD officers on bicycles attempted to move the group off the tracks.
The protesters then headed past the Westin. That’s the hotel where more than 300 delegates are staying for the RNC.
About an hour later, police said the same group blocked traffic by surrounding a car driving through the intersection of Stonewall Street and Brevard Street. Officers responded to help the driver and clear the intersection. They arrested William Gissentaner, 23, and charged him with impeding traffic, disorderly conduct and resisting a public officer.
Officers made three more arrests as protesters moved to North College Street and Trade Street. Nolan Strout, 23, Antonio Marotta, 21 and Olivia Turley, 19 were all arrested for assault on a government official and resisting a public officer.
Authorities said pepper spray was also used to control crowds while arrests were taking place.
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