Crime & Courts

Charlotte protests: Man accused in parking deck beating appears in court

Police have charged Antonio Gatewood with about a dozen crimes during violent uptown demonstration last month
Police have charged Antonio Gatewood with about a dozen crimes during violent uptown demonstration last month Charlotte-Mecklenburg police

A 22-year-old Charlotte man in court Tuesday has been tied to some of the worst violence of the September riots, including the looting of two uptown restaurants and a mass beating inside a parking deck that was caught on camera.

In all, Antonio Gatewood, is charged with about a dozen crimes. Authorities say all took place during the nights of unrest that followed the Sept. 20 police shooting of Keith Lamont Scott and the Sept. 21 killing of Justin Carr that occurred during a demonstration outside the Omni Hotel. Authorities say Rayquan Borum has admitted to the shooting and has been charged with murder.

Tuesday, Gatewood waived his probable cause hearing in Mecklenburg County District Court on three looting-related charges: breaking and entering, larceny and felony conspiracy.

He has been accused of eight other crimes, including assault, kidnapping and ethnic intimidation in connection with the beating of Mitchell Barnes inside the Epicentre parking deck. A video of the Sept. 21 incident shows multiple persons chasing Barnes, then beating and stomping him. Gatewood is the only one charged in connection with the attack.

Police say Gatewood also has been tied to break-ins at Jimmy Johns and Buffalo Wild Wings. Additional, looting-related charges include injury to personal property, common law robbery and multiple counts of felony conspiracy, breaking and entering, and larceny after breaking and entering.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg police say at least 31 people have been arrested in connection with the violence that swept across uptown Charlotte after the shootings. Dozens of demonstrators face such lesser charges as failure to disperse, impeding traffic and violating curfew.

Court records indicate that Gatewood is scheduled to be back in court Thursday on unrelated drug charges.

Records also indicate Gatewood has been arrested at least 10 times since 2014. Many of the dozen defendants who appeared in court last Thursday to face looting-related charges likewise had multiple arrests in their pasts.

On Tuesday, members of the activist group, Charlotte Uprising, returned to the courtroom to observe the proceedings. They have described those arrested in the aftermath of the September shootings as “freedom fighters,” and have called on the city to drop all charges.

Michael Gordon: 704-358-5095, @MikeGordonOBS