CHARLOTTE — A Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police officer who has met with and walked with demonstrators a number of times was involved in a scuffle Monday afternoon with protesters a day after he’d had another tense interaction.
Video shows CMPD Captain Brad Koch surrounded by chanting protesters Monday in front of the local government center before a white male protester approaches and shoves him. After being pushed, Koch took the man to the ground as more protesters were seen piling on. He was the only officer in the immediate vicinity.
No injuries were reported but in a tweet, CMPD said Koch was “assaulted in broad daylight” and are asking for the public’s help to identify those involved.
Demarco Blair, who was there to demonstrate, helped pull people off the officer, but was criticized by others there for trying to deescalate the situation.
“I got to and I’m going to and I’d do it again. Brad is a good man. He’s the only one walking with us. I’m a black man and I got no black officers walking with us,” Blair said.
As he stood between Koch and protesters, Blair condemned their actions. He said he believes such altercations make the already strained relationship between police and black men like himself even more difficult.
“You’re out here jumping on cops and putting more attention on me,” he said.
Koch has repeatedly walked with protesters through the city. He was pictured kneeling alongside them last week. The police department said in a tweet that he has walked more than a 100 miles with protesters in recent days.
But his interactions haven’t been well-received by all protesters. Some say he isn’t welcome to march with them.
He was also involved in a tense interaction Sunday with a small group of demonstrators who surrounded him and appeared to block his way while they were walking through Charlotte, according to video posted on Twitter by the department. Several officers arrived and broke up the situation, the video shows. The department said in a tweet Sunday that Koch “fended off an attack by several angry protestors,” but also thanked other demonstrators for helping to protect him.
Minutes after Monday’s scuffle, protester Shaquana Mcdaniel said he’s a good officer.
“If he wasn’t a good cop, everybody could have died. People could have been hurt,” she told the Associated Press.
Through tears, McDaniel begged her fellow protesters to keep their actions peaceful.
“They’re not channeling their anger the right way. They’re not going about it the right way. And if they want us to come together then why are we going against each other? It doesn’t make sense,” she said.