A wave of protesters marched through uptown Charlotte, chanting, carrying signs and stalling traffic Friday afternoon after a judge declared a mistrial in the case of CMPD Officer Randall “Wes” Kerrick.
The size of the group grew to as many as 100, moving through uptown streets and gathering outside the entrance to BB&T BallPark as a game was underway. Some of the protesters yelled and banged on fencing. Some of the people inside the ballpark threw food and drink through the fence. Police in riot gear formed a line to keep the two groups apart.
At least one scuffle broke out between protesters and police, and aman was taken into custody. It was not clear whether he would be charged with a crime.
The protesters walked through the streets, sometimes thumping on cars along the way. They gathered at the Charlotte Transit Center for a while, with police eventually ordering them to leave or be arrested. The group then wandered back to the ballpark.
The transit center was closed for the rest of the night, with plans to reopen on Saturday morning.
At a press conference earlier in the day, CMDP Chief Kerr Putney said special traffic and security would be in place for the Saturday night Panthers football game at Bank of America Stadium, to ensure any protests don’t get out of hand.
As the protests moved through uptown Friday night, Panthers spokesman Steven Drummond said the team is monitoring the protests to see if the stadium should have extra security measures for the game.
The unrest began just minutes after the judge ended the manslaughter trial over the death of unarmed Jonathan Ferrell.
Outside the courthouse, about eight people wielding “#JusticeforJonathan” signs sprawled on the hot asphalt of East Fourth Street and chanted against a criminal justice system they say let a killer walk free. Others gathered on the sidewalk to watch or show support.
Protesters were from a variety of groups, including the NAACP, True Healing Under God, or THUG, ministry and the Black Lives Matter movement. Police blocked off traffic on the street as the protesters sounded off chants, such as “Stop killing us,” “No justice, no peace ... No racist police,” and “Black Lives Matter.”
Jibril Hough, spokesman for the Islamic Center of Charlotte, said some protesters believe prosecutors made it hard to get resolution by “overcharging” Kerrick with voluntary manslaughter, which was more difficult for jurors to agree on.