Rioting Too Close to Home

The violence in Charlotte, North Carolina, is happening a little too close to home for one former Salina man. Chris Allison, a graduate of Salina South High School and former KSAL Sports Director, for the last three years has worked, and lived in Charlotte with his family.

Allison, who works for ESPN 730, tells KSAL News that his radio station’s facility is located within a couple of blocks of where rioting took place Wednesday night. He says that he anticipated the windows in his building to be shattered when he arrived at work Thursday morning. Thankfully, they weren’t. But there was damage to the nearby NASCAR Hall of Fame facility and an attached Buffalo Wild Wings Restaurant.

The rioting and violence stems from the fatal police shooting of a black man earlier this week. Charlotte has experienced protests from those upset over theĀ  shooting death of 43-year-old Keith Lamont Scott on Tuesday. Demonstrators smashed windows and met police in riot gear over the last few nights, leaving areas of the city a mess.

Allison says that it is a “dangerous, sad time in Charlotte.”

According to Allison, there are peaceful protestors who are exercising their 1st Amendment rights. But the problem is other people, some who aren’t even from Charlotte, who aren’t even protesters but rather are “troublemakers”.

Allison says that the general mood in Charlotte on Thursday matched the weather, cloudy and gloomy.

The unrest is impacting Charlotte in multiple ways. Obviously there is the damage from the riots, and there has been looting. There are security concerns for this Sunday’s Carolina Panthers home football game against the Minnesota Vikings. Allison says that his radio station was scheduled to do a live broadcast Thursday night from a downtown brewery, but it has been cancelled because of safety concerns. His show will also end early on Thursday, giving him time to vacate the area before any potential problems begin again.

The mayor of Charlotte Thursday was urging calm after the two nights of rioting. Police Chief Kerr Putney said Wednesday’s protests started peacefully, but a group started damaging property at about 8 p.m. Police in riot gear used tear gas and rubber bullets, and dozens of people were arrested. More than 40 arrests were made, and at least one person was shot

National Guard troops and state troopers are being mobilized to ensure public safety.