Crime & Courts

Charlotte man pleads guilty to beating that went viral during shooting protests; victim says he’s ‘moved on’

Man attacked in EpiCentre parking garage during Charlotte protests

Cellphone video shows a man being beaten and stripped of his pants by 10 attackers in the EpiCentre garage in Charlotte. The incident happened during a night of violent protests that erupted over the fatal police shooting of Keith Lamont Scott.
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Cellphone video shows a man being beaten and stripped of his pants by 10 attackers in the EpiCentre garage in Charlotte. The incident happened during a night of violent protests that erupted over the fatal police shooting of Keith Lamont Scott.

A Charlotte man has begun serving a six-month jail sentence in connection with a brutal beating in an uptown parking garage that was captured on video during the violent aftermath to a police shooting last fall.

Antonio Gatewood pleaded guilty last week to felony conspiracy to commit assault inflicting serious bodily injury, stemming from the Sept. 21 attack by 10 men in the Epicentre garage at 210 E. Trade St. The beating took place during two nights of protests and violence that followed the police shooting of Keith Lamont Scott the day before.

Video from a bystander, which drew a worldwide audience, showed victim Mitchell Barnes being chased, punched, stomped and stripped of his pants by his attackers. Barnes was a financial services worker who lived uptown and had come down to Trade and Tryon to show his support for protesters.

“I was knocked to one knee and took some big shots,” Barnes said a few days after the attack. “I was just trying to plead my way out of it.”

On Tuesday, Barnes said he learned of Gatewood’s sentencing by reading the Observer’s article. He declined to comment when asked if he thought Gatewood’s punishment is appropriate.

Barnes said he is fully recovered from his injuries, which included a concussion and a broken jaw, and that he wanted the public to know that “All is going well, and you can move past a bad incident.”

Gatewood, 23, was arrested on an array of charges, from assault and robbery to false imprisonment and ethnic intimidation, a misdemeanor. Barnes is white and his attackers were black.

Gatewood was also charged with looting several uptown businesses during the violence that tore through parts of uptown following Scott’s death.

A spokeswoman for the Mecklenburg County District Attorney’s Office said Gatewood’s intimidation charge was replaced by the grand jury with a felony conspiracy indictment. As part of Gatewood’s guilty plea, all remaining charges were dropped.

Asked why prosecutors had not pursued the ethnic-intimidation charge, the spokeswoman said ethical obligations for prosecutors did not allow her to discuss the case.

Gatewood, who according to jail records has at least eight previous arrests, was sentenced to 12-24 months in prison. That punishment was suspended pending his successful completion of 30 months of supervised probation. Gatewood must serve 180 days in jail and pay more than $3,100 in restitution.

Meanwhile, Cortney Pinkney, who was also charged in the connection with the attack on Barnes, is scheduled for a preliminary court hearing next week on assault, robbery and felony conspiracy and other charges.

Pinkney, 28, who jail records show with at least five previous arrests, also was originally charged with ethnic intimidation. As with Gatewood, that charge was replaced by a felony conspiracy indictment.

Michael Gordon: 704-358-5095, @MikeGordonOBS

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