UPDATE 11 p.m. EDT: About 45 people showed up to protest at the Charlotte-Mecklenburg (North Carolina) Police Department in the wake of Friday's mistrial in the shooting death of Jonathan Ferrell by a white police officer, the Charlotte Observer reported. The protest was peaceful in contrast to Friday's demonstration.
The protest ended shortly after the start of Saturday's Carolina Panthers-Miami Dolphins game.
Following two arrests, and a night of protests brought on by a mistrial in the police shooting of an unarmed black man, Charlotte, N.C., Police Chief Kerry Putney Saturday acknowledged the divisions running through a city that is expected to draw both demonstrators and football fans tonight. Putney appealed to protesters and officers alike ahead of the NFL preseason match-up between the Carolina Panthers and the Miami Dolphins.
"I get we’re divided," Putney told a news conference where he outlined security preparations for the evening's events. "We represent this community. This community is divided. So we got a lot more work to do, and we’re going to continue to do it.”
The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department (CMPD) said two individuals were arrested for assault on an officer, the Associated Press reported. At the press conference Putney said protesters grew "more aggressive" over the course of Friday evening. “They even became violent, throwing rocks at our officers,” he said.
Putney praised officers for displaying "a great deal of restraint." He also said, "We encourage people to get their message out, as long as they're within the laws."
On Friday a judge declared a mistrial in the case of Randall Kerrick, a white CMPD officer on trial for manslaughter in the 2013 shooting death of Jonathan Ferrell, a former college football player. The 24-year-old Florida A&M alum was involved in a severe car accident Sept. 14, 2013. He walked to a house where he knocked on the door, and the female homeowner dialed 911.
Kerrick was one of three police officers who responded to the call. In the events that unfolded, Kerrick shot at Ferrell and hit him 10 times. The city of Charlotte reached a $2.25 million legal settlement with Ferrell's family earlier this year.
The jury of eight women and four men in Kerrick's criminal trial told Judge Robert Ervin Friday they could not agree on a verdict after nearly four days of deliberations.
The deadlock comes amid 12 months of heightened national debate over policing, race and deadly confrontations between officers and African-Americans.
Putney said community leaders are giving him feedback on the department's use of force policy. "This is our team and our community improving our organization as a police department," he said.