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Mayor Lyles, city council join protesters for peaceful demonstration

The sixth night of protests in Charlotte was mostly peaceful after city leaders met with hundreds of people to hear their concerns.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — For the sixth night in a row, protesters marched in the streets of uptown Charlotte against police brutality and racial injustice in the wake of George Floyd's death at the hands of police in Minneapolis, Minnesota. 

They were joined by several Charlotte officials, including Mayor Vi Lyles and members of the city council.

The night was mostly peaceful, but tensions rose shortly before midnight when bottles were thrown at officers and fireworks were lit in front of officers. Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police used flashbangs to break up the crowd after bottles were thrown at them. Overall, police and protesters agreed it was a big difference compared to what we've seen the last few nights. CMPD announced Thursday morning that officers made 11 protest-related arrests for various charges.

City leaders said Wednesday that peace isn't possible without transparency, which led to Lyles and City Council members hosting a public forum outside the Government Center. Hundreds showed up to ask questions, demanding answers after a video appeared to show CMPD officers trapping protesters and using tear gas on them during Tuesday night's demonstrations.

"I felt like I was about to die and running for my life," said one person. "I have four kids, they need me. What y'all gonna do about it?"

Mayor Lyles said Wednesday she wants all bodycam footage from that incident made public, so everyone can see exactly what happened. Lyle was then asked to join protesters in the street, where she took a knee with protesters for nine minutes as a tribute to Floyd.

CMPD Chief Kerr Putney told protesters Wednesday evening he will petition the courts to immediately release the video once the SBI wraps up its review of the incident. 

"I am absolutely sorry for what last night looked like on that video, however, we have to find out all angles," Chief Putney said, as protesters yelled with more questions.

Putney told those gathered that as long as there's no violence toward officers, other people or property, CMPD will not use tear gas on protesters.

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