Rappelling protesters touch down during Carolina Panthers game
Charlotte-Mecklenburg police have charged four people after protesters rappelled from an overhang at Bank of America Stadium during Monday’s Carolina Panthers game.
Police haven’t released the names of those arrested. But We Are Cove Point, an organization involved in the protest, identified them as David Baghdadi, Erica Madrid, John Nicholson and Angela Vogel, according to Observer news partner WBTV.
The activists said they were protesting Bank of America’s financing of a liquefied natural gas facility in Maryland. They suspended themselves from the upper deck of the stadium before dropping a banner reading: “BoA: Dump Dominion” and a link to the protest’s website. BoA is an abbreviation for Bank of America, the Charlotte-based bank that owns the naming rights to the Panthers’ stadium.
The protesters – a man and a woman wearing full rappelling gear – climbed down during the third quarter in front of the press box.
Firefighters and police officers converged on the scene, and stadium officials cleared out the section just below as a precaution. No injuries were reported.
“They’re obviously causing a significant disturbance,” one television commentator said as cameras panned to the emptied section and the police activity. “I think they’re going to be doing their hanging out somewhere else pretty soon.”
The protesters were arrested just after 11 p.m.
Police said in a statement that the protesters had refused their commands to come down. The Charlotte Fire Department was then called in to help, police said.
“Bank of America is allowing companies like Dominion (Resources) to operate without checks and balances,” Nicholson said in a news release from We Are Cove Point. “They are giving money directly to Dominion with full knowledge of the health and safety risks of building an LNG export facility, and they need to be accountable to that.”
Representatives for Bank of America couldn’t be reached late Monday. The Panthers released a statement early Tuesday saying it is working with CMPD to investigate the incident.