CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Panthers fans coming from tailgates to Bank of America Stadium Sunday were greeted with more than 100 protesters singing "no justice, no peace" to the funky tune of a street brass band.
It's a message some in the group have nearly lost their voices shouting over the past five days. Still the group relentlessly sends that message of solidarity and the importance of black lives, after the officer involved shooting death of Keith Scott in Charlotte.
The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department says they were executing a search warrant for a different person at Scott's apartment complex, when Scott parked his car next to undercover officers. Officers noticed he was in possession of a hand gun and marijuana, triggering their response in engaging Scott, leading to the fatal shooting.
Protesters linked arms, surrounded by a circle of officers on bicycles outside the Panthers game. Protest organizers say the attention this Sunday needed to be on something bigger than football.
"On Sunday the Panthers game is like the biggest deal ever, and we're here to say it's not this week," said organizer Ashley Williams.
The group wasn't satisfied with police releasing body and dash camera footage of the encounter Saturday. CMPD provided two clips that show the encounter in the moments before and during the shooting, citing the release would no longer compromise it's nor the SBI's investigation. The group still is demanding the release of any and all tapes, complaining about the lack of audio as well.
"Some of the other demands are demilitarizing the police," Williams said. They're also asking the department relocate funds to focus on communities.
Police created the space for protesters to exercise their First Amendment rights, while not interfering with fans entering the game.
"We're in it for the long haul so we'll be here as long as they do," said CMPD Captain Mike Campagna. The Captain also noted Greensboro Police Department's presence and assistance in helping with the protest, saying he appreciated the help.
The city of Charlotte declared the game an "Extraordinary Event" anticipating the protest. It gave police more resources and authority to arrest those who may be breaking the law. Police arrested one man early in the day, who had a handgun and loaded magazine in his backpack.
With all the tension, some people decided it was an opportunity to spread positivity.
"Love, peace and unity it doesn't mean, it doesn't negate justice, accountability and equity," said Dani Cook as she and friends gave out hugs to protesters and officers.
Protesters eventually took to the streets of Charlotte, as police lined the streets to clear their path. There was also a noticeable number of State Highway Patrol guarding on and off ramps to the interstate, to make sure protesters didn't try and block major highways, as they've done in previous rallies.