Businesses pick up the pieces after Charlotte riots

CHARLOTTE N.C. -- Several businesses were left to pick up the pieces Thursday morning, after protests in Uptown Charlotte Wednesday night turned violent.

The Hilton Garden Inn on S. Caldwell Street, the NASCAR Hall of Fame and Buffalo Wild Wings Café, which are all located on the same block, suffered extensive damage. Thursday morning, crews were placing plywood boards over every window of the hotel.

Many of the hotel’s windows, including the front door, were shattered, but the hotel says all windows were being boarded up to protect them in case riots broke out again Thursday night.

It was the same scene at the NASCAR Hall of Fame, where crews were using dry-vacs to vacuum up broken glass. Several of the buildings windows and glass wall panels were shattered.

But the damage at the Hall of Fame didn’t stop Shawn Mclaren and his family, who were visiting from Ohio from touring the museum.

“We still wanted to come to the hall of fame because we live so far away and we never get down this way, so we weren’t going to let it bother us,” said Mclaren.

Thursday, the EpiCenter complex -- home to many popular restaurants and bars, which also sustained considerable damage -- was closed to the public. Officers blocked each entrance as crews there worked to clean up.

The CVS at the EpiCenter was one of the stores hardest hit there. Witness cell phone video captured looters breaking in, shattering the stores' front glass door, breaking in and rummaging through the store. The nearby Hornets fan shop also looted, with extensive damage to their front glass doors.

In addition to storefronts, cars parked on the street including police cruisers had their front windshields smashed and their side mirrors knocked off. Several police cruisers were also spray painted.

Police say officers were injured and several news crews were assaulted, including a CNN reporter who was shoved to the ground live on the air.

In light of the riots, several events scheduled to take place Uptown Thursday, including several charity events were canceled. A fundraiser for the non-profit Care Ring was scheduled to take place at the Westin hotel.

“There’s upwards of 7 thousand people a year that we serve that have very limited resources that rely on us for our healthcare,” said Don Jonas, the organization’s Director.

Jonas says Care Ring provides free healthcare services to those who need it most in our community and having to cancel the fundraiser means losing roughly 100 thousand dollars.

“Which is really critical. It’s essential to the work that we do. It provides operating support so that we can provide those services out into the community,” said Jonas.

When asked if the violence and rioting take away from the important issue at hand, people were split.

“If you want to protest there’s probably a better way to do it. And destroying property is definitely not a good thing to do,” said Mclaren.

One man, who asked us not to use his name said, “You know that could be fixed but a life can’t be fixed.” He added, “I think if you bring that tape out about what really happened, about was it a book or a gun then I think it would resolve a whole lot of issues.”

Charlotte resident Tonya Jameson she was torn saying, “If protestors stayed peaceful the whole time the national media probably wouldn’t be here and maybe would have gone away and wouldn’t have been a big deal, so I’m really torn in what direction in going in.”

Despite the damage, NBC reporters say Uptown seemed to be operating as normal Thursday afternoon with many people out in the streets, grabbing lunch and some even out on afternoon jogs.

But some businesses urged employees whose offices are located Uptown to stay home, including Bank of America, Wells Fargo, and Fifth Third Bank.

Officials say they hope the protests stay peaceful Thursday night.

Copyright 2016 WCNC


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