Violent protests, security breaches erupt and police come under attack by protestors in Charlotte

CHARLOTTE, NC – In the auspicious event seeing the formal Republican nomination of President Donald Trump, considered an ally to local law enforcement around the country, for reelection, several unlawful demonstrations broke out in the host city.

Charlotte, the largest city in both Carolinas, saw its third night of anti-Trump demonstrations Sunday while preparing to host the quadrennial Republican National Convention.

Several groups, totaling less than 100, gathered in the city’s Marshall Park to mobilize between 9:00 and 9:30 p.m.  From there, they proceeded to march northward from the park- traveling up Stonewall St., Martin Luther King Jr Blvd., and Third St. 

Charlotte-Mecklenburg police monitored the demonstrators’ activity without intervention as they traveled.   Some of the chants heard as the groups marched included:

“No R-N-C in C-L-T,”

“Black Lives Matter,”

“F— Trump,”

and, of course:

“F— the Police.”

Another chant heard was:

“One, two, three, four, slavery, genocide, and war. Five, six, seven, eight, America was never great.”

The groups converged again near the northwest corner of the Charlotte Convention Center, the venue for this year’s RNC.  This is also near the Westin Charlotte, where Convention delegates are staying. 

Clashes began with police, when the groups began attempting to block traffic, by moving police barricades and other large objects. The CMPD reported that the demonstrators assaulted police officers, as police attempted to intervene and clear the streets. 

The Charlotte Observer reported that police officers also came to the aid of a driver in a pickup truck, when demonstrators surrounded the vehicle.  Officers on bicycles were successful in driving the demonstrators backward, though one officer had his bicycle stolen by someone in the crowd of demonstrators.

CMPD reports that tear gas was used to subdue the escalating crowd, while several arrests were made (including the arrest of the individual charged with stealing the police bicycle).  Most of the arrests were due to assault and interference, as some demonstrators kicked and hurled objects at police officers.

President Trump arrived this morning to give a surprise speech accepting his second nomination during the convention, amid an electrified atmosphere and chants of “four more years” inside.  There was relative calm outside, with no sign of the previous evening’s clash.

CMPD officers arrested one individual Monday morning, as he attempted to make an unlawful entry through the temporary security perimeter, after delegates had already arrived.  The individual was successfully apprehended before approaching an area where delegates or officials were present. 

RNC Security informed Convention attendees in an official announcement at 10:30am Monday morning.   Despite a weekend of demonstrations, and a perimeter breach on the first day of the RNC, CMPD was able to restore order with no impact to the day’s scheduled events.

Tempering the anti-Trump, anti-law enforcement sentiment of the weekend demonstrators, is a group equal in size that marched five miles south of Uptown. 

Charlotte’s SouthPark neighborhood saw a different type of demonstration earlier on Sunday afternoon.  The group marched in the light rain as part of a “Back the Blue” rally, carrying American and Back the Blue flags. 

Passersby in vehicles honked their horns as a show of support along the marchers’ two-mile route around the neighborhood.  

Supporters on social media also indicated that “Backing the Blue” shows Charlotte’s true nature, unlike the nighttime demonstrations Uptown.

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Here’s our previous report on the events occurring ahead of the RNC.

Last night saw multiple arrests as demonstrators gathered in Uptown to protest the Republican National Convention.

The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department made extensive preparations in anticipation of possible protests and other security issues as the RNC approached.

A command center was prepared for the convention, and drone flights were restricted within a 30-mile radius. Certain local roads were closed, or are to be closed as the convention continues. Businesses were assured that they could remain open, despite a local security perimeter.

According to CMPD Major Steven Brochu, lack of resources to cover sanctioned events meant that no protest areas were set aside, and no protest permits were issued.

However, police planned in advance to support peaceful protesters’ Constitutional rights.

Brochu told WBTV News:

“We know political conventions can certainly draw some activity as far as protests.

“We are prepared to facilitate those first amendment rights.”

Brochu also requested assistance from the community in helping with safety concerns.

He announced:

“Those of us who live in our community, know our communities, so if you see suspicious activity, just like you do on normal days we would ask for that vigilance be brought across to this event, that helps us dramatically for our security.”

As anticipated, protesting occurred and became violent.

CMPD reported assaults on officers as the night wore on, and that multiple arrests were made.

CMPD further added on Twitter that pepper spray had to be deployed to prevent people from interfering with those arrests.

Pepper spray also had to be used when protesters grabbed police officers’ bikes as the officers were controlling the crowd to allow automobile traffic to flow.

The following video shows protesters screaming at officers and physically interfering with the officers’ attempts to clear the road for traffic. 

Warning:  language in this clip may be offensive to some viewers.

CMPD also made at least one arrest after a vehicle was surrounded and attacked.

As one might expect, the protests were not simply against the Republican National Convention, but against police as well.

WBTV interviewed one protester who said:

“We don’t want Trump here in Charlotte for the RNC … we’re still having those same demands over the last ninety days … defunding the police, and increasing affordable housing and things like that.”

At the helm of the gathering appeared to be an anti-police organization known as Charlotte Uprising.

On their Facebook page, the group describes itself as:

“a coalition of community members dedicated to ending state violence against Black and marginalized people.”

Its demands on the Charlotte Uprising website largely relate to the death of Keith L. Scott in 2016.  Scott died in a police-involved shooting that was ruled as justified.

The group’s demands include defunding of police, “demilitarization” of police, release of those arrested in the violent protests after Scott’s death, and reparations for the Scott family. Its demands also include:

“Community control of the police, starting with the creation of a civilian oversight board that has the power to hire and fire officers, determine disciplinary actions as well as dictate police policies, priorities, and budgets. The board shall not include police representation and will be controlled by communities most impacted by policing and incarceration in Charlotte.”

As posted on Facebook on Aug. 21, Charlotte Uprising called for participants in “Nights of Action,” set to begin at 8:30 p.m. on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

The group is also holding a “People’s University: Combat the RNC” event Saturday night before the scheduled protest, inviting participants to:

“Learn more about direct action, medic training, jail support, and context about the RNC in Charlotte! If you plan on protesting the RNC come join us!”

After the first violent night of RNC protests, Charlotte Uprising is calling on Twitter for contributions to bail funds, saying,

“Three of our people were arrested by the pigs who attacked us!”

An attitude like that, and additional planned protests scheduled for Saturday and Sunday, virtually guarantee that the CMPD will be subjected to more violence this weekend as officers continue to work to keep citizens and convention attendees safe during the Republican National Convention.

Violence in Charlotte is sadly nothing new for the CMPD. Here is our previous report on that:

CHARLOTTE, NC – With police resources across the country being stretched thin by the coronavirus, either due to responding to calls for failure to social distance or due to the fact that the ranks are thinned by sick officers, crime goes on.

On Wednesday, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police released video from a violent incident that occurred in Charlotte earlier this month, where 45 shots were fired.

WBTV-3 in Charlotte reported that in the past week, there have been 30 shootings in the city. Apparently, Charlotte is trying to compete with Chicago as the shooting capital of the United States. Police say that they have made more than 1,100 violent crime arrests so far in 2020, while about 800 illegal firearms were taken off the street.

An example is on April 7, when an argument involving a custody dispute turned violent, where video showed a man taking an assault rifle and start shooting, with return fire being sent back in his direction.

In that case, police say that three people are facing charges:

  • Aubre Randolph is charged with assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill, assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill inflicting serious injury, two counts of discharging a weapon into occupied property, felony conspiracy and contributing to the delinquency of a minor.
  • Ashley Clark is charged with assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill, assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill inflicting serious injury, two counts of discharging a weapon into occupied property, felony conspiracy and contributing to the delinquency of a minor.
  • Dontae Harrison is charged with assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill, assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill inflicting serious injury, two counts of discharging a weapon into occupied property, and felony conspiracy

Five weeks later, on May 1, a huge shootout broke out in North Charlotte at an apartment complex. Two women who spoke to WBTV saw the incident as it happened. One witness said:

“I grabbed my sister, put her up under me and got under the car.” 

In that incident 45 shots were fired, police said. One person was struck and is expected to survive.

In that case, three more people are facing charges:

  • Demarcus Davis is charged with charges of attempted murder, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, and felony conspiracy.
  • Deondre Sturdivant is charged with two counts of discharging a weapon into occupied property and possession of a stolen firearm.
  • Khaleil Pittman is facing two counts of discharging a weapon into occupied property and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.

Now, for the best part of the whole story? All of the suspects are currently back on the streets … every last one of them.

CMPD Public Relations Coordinator Rob Tufano said:

“Every single last one of them is back on the street. Right back on the street on electronic monitoring.”

Police told WBTV they were frustrated by the revolving door of the criminal justice system. CMPD Deputy Chief Jeff Estes said:

“We’ll do our part, turn them over to the judicial system, and then we’ll see what’s done with them.”

The news station said that they reached out to see if the release of the shooters was related to COVID-19, but given the trend across the country, it’s probably an accurate assumption that this played some role in the releases.

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