Charlotte Protest Video Archives 2020

This page acts as an archive of video protest coverage for social justice protests and large-scale demonstrations that we cover in the Charlotte area. Queen City Nerve has covered many actions, demonstrations and protests in the past and through different mediums. We will begin these archives with videos of the protests that occurred in response to the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis in May 2020 and ran through August 2020.

In Response to the Police Killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis

May 29 – June 19, 2020

Links to video archives follow description and aftermath

use of tear gas, protest response policy
Protesters in Uptown flee from tear gas on May 30. (Photo by Joshua Galloway)

What happened?

In May 2020, video surfaced of a Minneapolis police officer killing George Floyd in front of multiple witnesses by kneeling on his back for nearly 9 minutes following an arrest for forgery on Memorial Day. The video sparked a nationwide response, resulting in large-scale protests around the country.

Organizers in Charlotte planned the first demonstration at the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department Metro Division station on the evening of Friday, May 29. After a short march, protesters and police clashed outside of the police station and CMPD deployed riot control agents throughout the night to disperse the crowd.

Things shifted gears over the weekend, moving into Uptown on Saturday and Sunday. Local grassroots organizers led marches through Uptown and surrounding neighborhoods. While Kass Ottley led a peaceful march through Myers Park on June 1, other protests led to clashes with police, and by Monday night around 100 protesters had been arrested.  Confrontations with police continued for six nights, with the most notable incident of the local protests occurring on June 2, when CMPD officers used a kettling technique to trap peaceful protesters on East 4th Street between South Tryon and South College streets. Peaceful protests followed for the next sixteen days after June 3, when the last riot control agent was deployed.

Demonstrations changed to celebrations over the following 16 days, with a focus on building community engagement and highlighting those doing the everyday work to uplift Black lives in Charlotte. Protests continued beyond June 19 but came to a break after the second night of Juneteenth celebrations on Beatties Ford Road, where a mass shooting resulted in four deaths.

What was the outcome?

Following the June 2 kettling incident, Charlotte City Council made a motion to ban the purchase of tear gas by the CMPD during the approval of the city’s 2021 fiscal year budget. Councilmember Larken Egleston then made an announcement that the council would vote on implementing a national 8 Can’t Wait campaign which advocates for eight short-term resolutions to police violence.

The department came under more scrutiny after the release of body camera and surveillance footage from the incident on June 2.

The department started working on a campaign building on the national 8 Can’t Wait campaign with an 8 Isn’t Enough campaign of their own, claiming that many of the policy changes called for by the national campaign have been written into CMPD policy for years. They eventually walked back those claims and vowed to rework the policies to be in complete compliance with the plan that has been shown to decrease adverse interactions between the community and police by 72%.

In response to a lawsuit filed against the department by the ACLU, NAACP, SEAC and other local activists (which Queen City Nerve publisher Justin LaFrancois was also a party to), a judge agreed on a restraining order against CMPD. The order originally banned the use of tear gas by CMPD for a 10-day period, which was later extended.

New CMPD Chief Johnny Jennings took office on July 1 following the retirement of former chief Kerr Putney, and immediately made changes to department policy through community input. He began with policies related to how police respond to protests in Charlotte.

On a national level, N.C. U.S. House Rep. Alma Adams introduced the Right to PROTEST Act, a bill criminalizing the use of riot-control agents without explicit warning and a “reasonable” amount of time to disperse.

The focus then shifted from protest response to community policing. City council created a new task force called Safe Communities Committee that worked to make community-derived changes to police policy at the patrol level. The committee made six recommendations on potential policy changes and external oversight for the department. Council voted in favor of those recommendations, which were titled the Safe Charlotte plan, and city manager Marcus Jones’ office is currently working on implementing that plan.

The city is now focusing on how policing and community involvement can curb gun violence in Charlotte as we reach the highest number of yearly homicides since 1993. Working with community advocates and the national Cure Violence organization, the city will continue to look into violence interruption plans.

Day 1 | May 29, 2020

Day 2 | May 30, 2020

Day 3 | May 31, 2020

Day 4 | June 1, 2020

Day 5 | June 2, 2020

Day 6 | June 3, 2020

Day 7 | June 4, 2020

Day 8 | June 5, 2020

Day 9 | June 6, 2020

Day 10 | June 7, 2020