Protest peaceful outside NFL game in Charlotte
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.
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.