2 arrested after Kerrick trial protests take violent turn

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A protester is arrested after engaging in a scuffle with an officer(Photo: WCNC)

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Friday night, Kerrick trial protests took a violent turn in uptown leading to the arrest of two people.

Police say they observed the crowd transition from peaceful protesters to a younger, more aggressive group of demonstrators as the events of the night developed.

Around 9 p.m. some demonstrators threw rocks at police officers. The CMPD Civil Emergency Unit was deployed and restored order.

As seen on the live stream on WCNC.com, a protester struck a transit officer at the Transit Center uptown, a scuffle ensued, and the man was arrested.   A second person was also arrested for assault on an officer.  Neither officer was seriously injured.

 For hours since a judge declared a mistrial in the voluntary manslaughter trial of Officer Randall Kerrick, there were peaceful protests in uptown. By nightfall, the Black Lives Matter protesters were roving around the city with signs and chanting, among other things, “No justice, no peace.”

During the Charlotte Knights game, police had to block protesters who were banging on the gates and taunting game-goers. At one point, a CMPD SWAT team deployed to the ballpark.

Following a single act of violence, CATS shut down the transit center uptown around 11 p.m. Friday night; all riders are told to go the Carson Street station to catch the bus. CATS says normal operations resumed Saturday morning.

Early Friday evening, Black Lives Matter protesters staged a die-in have blocked traffic in uptown Friday afternoon.

The protesters were inside the courtroom, but took to the streets once the judge declared a mistrial in the voluntary manslaughter trial of Officer Randall Kerrick, who fatally shot 24-year-old Jonathan Ferrell back in September of 2013.

Laying down in the middle of 4th Street, protesters started chanting, “no justice, no peace,” “who are we here for? Jonathan Ferrell,” “justice for Jonathan.”

WCNC learned most of the Black Lives Matter protesters on the scene are from Charlotte or from the Charlotte area.

One protester told WCNC that Ferrell’s mother encouraged all of those who participate in protests to keep it peaceful.

Our Rad Berky said there are more media at the site than there are actual protesters.

When asked how long the protest would be going on, one protester replied, “As long as we have to.”

The protesters are moving, having started on 4th Street, and by 7 o’clock were near the ballpark. A second group of protesters was spotted around 4th and Tryon.

The Charlotte Knights are playing uptown tonight, and the game continued on as scheduled.

The Panthers say they are monitoring the situation uptown ahead of Saturday’s game.