Protest peace­ful out­side NFL game in Char­lotte

Baltimore Sun - - OBITUARIES NATION - By Tom Fore­man Jr.

CHAR­LOTTE, N.C. — Chant­ing “No Jus­tice! No Peace!” as they con­verged out­side Bank of Amer­ica Sta­dium on Sun­day, about 100 peo­ple peace­fully demon­strated against the fa­tal po­lice shoot­ing of a black man.

A heavy po­lice pres­ence sur­rounded the sta­dium, where of­fi­cers dressed in black riot gear in prepa­ra­tion for a sixth day of protests fol­low­ing the death of Keith La­mont Scott on Tues­day night. Any con­cerns that protests would keep fans from en­ter­ing Sun­day’s game be­tween the Carolina Pan­thers and Min­nesota Vik­ings were un­founded.

In the hours lead­ing up to the game, many fans stopped to hug of­fi­cers and pose for photos.

As kick­off neared, pro­test­ers gath­ered by a line of of­fi­cers, and all dropped to one knee when the na­tional an­them be­gan to play in­side the sta­dium.

Last month, San Fran­cisco 49ers backup quar­ter­back Colin Kae- per­nick started a protest move­ment by not stand­ing dur­ing the na­tional an­them. He has said he wants to draw at­ten­tion to ra­cial op­pres­sion and po­lice bru­tal­ity in the coun­try. Many ath­letes have since joined him or said they sup­port him, even be­fore the re­cent po­lice shoot­ings in Char­lotte and Tulsa, Okla.

As Sun­day’s protest in Char­lotte went on, fans head­ing for the sta­dium strolled by, many ap­pear­ing to ig­nore the demon­stra­tors. From in­side the sta­dium, peo­ple stopped on ac­cess ramps to watch the demon­stra­tors.

Na­tional Guard troops rode by the protest in two Humvees, fol­lowed by an un­marked North Carolina High­way Pa­trol car.

Many pro­test­ers held signs, while oth­ers chanted Scott’s name. It co­in­cided with the mu­sic of the Brass Con­nec­tion Band, a group that plays out­side the sta­dium prior to home games. The band on Sun­day played “We Want The Funk” as pro­test­ers slowed their chants to match the rhythm of the song.

The band’s drum­mer, Bill Banks, said he and his fel­low mu­si­cians were just try­ing to use their tal­ents to main­tain calm.

“We’re just out here to lighten the mood,” Banks said. “I don’t have noth­ing against them protest­ing as long as it’s peace­ful.”

Scott was killed Tues­day by a black po­lice of­fi­cer try­ing to serve a war­rant on some­one else. Po­lice main­tain that Scott had a gun, though res­i­dents have said he was un­armed.

In the dash­cam video re­leased Satur­day night, Scott could be seen slowly back­ing away from his SUV with his hands down. Four shots are heard, and he crum­ples to the ground mor­tally wounded. Af­ter the po­lice ve­hi­cle dash­board cam­era and po­lice body-cam videos were re­leased, protests con­tin­ued but were largely peace­ful.

City of­fi­cials des­ig­nated the NFL game on Sun­day an “ex­tra­or­di­nary event” that gave of­fi­cers the abil­ity to search back­packs, cool­ers and any­thing else peo­ple might be car­ry­ing.

DIEDRA LAIRD/CHAR­LOTTE (N.C.) OB­SERVER

Pro­test­ers con­front a line of po­lice of­fi­cers Sun­day out­side Bank of Amer­ica Sta­dium be­fore the Carolina Pan­thers-Min­nesota Vik­ings foot­ball game in Char­lotte, N.C.

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