Six arrested during Bank of America protest in uptown
CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) -
Six protestors were arrested by Charlotte police when they tried to enter the annual shareholders meeting at Bank of America's headquarters Wednesday.
Police have moved in on protestors along College Street in uptown Charlotte in an attempt to maintain control as hundreds of people converged uptown to protest the nation's second largest bank and its practices.
WBTV's Kristen Hampton reports that protesters are pouring into the streets shutting down traffic at College and 5th Streets. They were becoming increasingly hostile toward police, Hampton says, but seemed to subside a bit when they all sat down in the middle of the street.
Keenan Altic, 27, Matthew Pence, 34, Johnny Rosa, 49, Steven Norris, 68, Gregory Yost, 45, and Scottie Wingfield, 36, were all arrested.
Five were charged with second degree trespassing when they tried to jump a barricade and enter the shareholders meeting.
Wingfield was charged with impeding traffic.
Protesters were heaviest along College Street between 5th and 6th Streets. Police estimate between 400-500 protestors were marching uptown.
"We believe the message is being heard, we ARE the 99% and we want to take back our country," said protester Emma Ladson from Miami, Florida. "The greedy banks are taking our homes and evicting people and throwing them into the streets. We want to say 'Stop the Greed now, Bank of America, stop the greed now!'"
WBTV spoke to an older female protester who said this was her first protest.
"All we can do is what we do. At least I'm not sitting at home, watching this on tv," she told WBTV. "That's a new thing for me, so at my age - if I can come out, you can come out too."
A college student from UNC-Chapel Hill told us that he thinks there need to be more protests like the one that happened Wednesday.
"I think its effective, I think we need a bunch of these events to let them know we're watching. They can't just make all these decisions that hurt the environment, hurt homeowners, without us being here," he said. "We need to let them know that they need to pay attention to us."
It didn't take long for the group to grow in number as more protesters were brought in on buses. Tuesday, protester Bridgette Flaherty said "So far we know we have buses from Asheville, Durham, Raleigh, Wilmington, Greensboro, and Chapel Hill." Flaherty was one of the first protesters to arrive in Charlotte.
"What we're going to have tomorrow is the 99 percent in one corner, and Brian Big Banks Moynihan in the other," said Flaherty, "and we're demanding justice for homeowners, for the planet, and really getting corporate money out of politics."
The boxing glove Bank of America protesters will use Wednesday as a symbol only seems natural, since they're calling it the fight of their lives.
WBTV spoke to a woman at the protest from Miami, Florida.
Trinese Martin said that she traveled to come to the protest, because she is a victim of Bank of America's policies. She says her home was foreclosed on.
"People in the inner-city, people of color, are also losing their houses to foreclosure. In most of the parts, in the inner-city, there are a lot of houses that when you walk down the city block - six houses is condemn and owned by Bank of America," Martin told WBTV. "There's a lot of debris. Bank of America has taken a lot of the inner-city homes, including mine.
Martin says her mortgage started at one thing, but then it went higher where she couldn't afford it.
Then, she says, she was met with silence.
"They wouldn't talk to me at all. Actually, I'm a shareholder of Bank of America. I went into that meeting, but I couldn't get in. The date that I bought the shares was too late for me to be able to go into the meeting," she told WBTV. "They turned me away, 'cause I was gonna go in there and tell them to give me my house back."
When bank executives and shareholders arrived for Bank of America's annual meeting, they were met with signs, a slew of dramatic symbols, and what looks to be the most organized protest at BofA in Charlotte so far.
"What we're doing at this point in time is like they did in the Civil Rights movement back in the '60s, like they did with Occupy - when the people speak out, when they come together, they can be heard," Ladson told WBTV. "The 99% can be heard and we are being heard around the country and around the world."
Inside the shareholders meeting, WBTV's Melissa Hankins reports a heavy security and police presence.
BofA CEO Brian Moynihan in a letter to shareholders said the company has emerged "as a stronger, more straightforward company, we are building deeper relationships with our customers and clients, and are doing what we can to help restore confidence and strength to our economy."
Bank of America's shareholder meeting started at 10 a.m.
Tuesday, July 29 2014 7:29 PM EDT2014-07-29 23:29:06 GMT
Conway, SC (WMBF) - Folks around Conway are reflecting, after strong storms ripped through the community last night. The national weather service spent the day surveying the damage to be better preparedMore >>
Folks around Conway are reflecting, after strong storms ripped through the community last night. The National Weather Service spent the day surveying the damage to be better prepared for the future. More >>
Tuesday, July 29 2014 6:42 PM EDT2014-07-29 22:42:31 GMT
ATLANTIC BEACH, SC (WMBF) - Reporter Lauren Weppler is in Atlantic Beach Tuesday morning, live-tweeting from the town's meeting with Governor Nikki Haley. Follow Lauren's tweets below: Tweets by @LMore >>
Governor Nikki Haley still vows to put an end to Atlantic Beach's annual Memorial Day weekend Bikefest, and the town's Mayor still vows to keep it. More >>
Tuesday, July 29 2014 6:12 PM EDT2014-07-29 22:12:28 GMT
FLORENCE, SC (WMBF) - A ribbon cutting event was held Tuesday for the fourth floor of the City Center in Florence. The building is where medical students will study until the new school is built at theMore >>
A ribbon cutting event was held Tuesday for the fourth floor of the City Center in Florence.More >>
Tuesday, July 29 2014 5:53 PM EDT2014-07-29 21:53:20 GMT
MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - Myrtle Beach Recreation will be hosting its 6th Annual Kids Triathlon on Saturday, August 16 at Pepper Geddings Recreation Center. More than 130 boys and girls, ages 7-18, areMore >>
Myrtle Beach Recreation will be hosting its 6th Annual Kids Triathlon on Saturday, August 16 at Pepper Geddings Recreation Center.More >>
Tuesday, July 29 2014 5:45 PM EDT2014-07-29 21:45:57 GMT
MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - WMBF News has joined Instagram. The account will give followers a chance to see WMBF News out and about in their neighborhoods and community, reporting what matters. PicturesMore >>
We want to see your sunset and sunrise photos and community pics. Out at a festival or gathering? We want to see! Show us your community in all its glory, then look for it on WMBF News at 11.More >>
Tuesday, July 29 2014 5:40 PM EDT2014-07-29 21:40:00 GMT
FLORENCE, SC (WMBF) - McLeod Women's Services will host "Straight Talk About Women's Pelvic Health Issues". The event will be held at McLeod Health & Fitness Center on Tuesday, August 19 at 12 p.m. PelvicMore >>
McLeod Women's Services will host "Straight Talk About Women's Pelvic Health Issues".More >>
Tuesday, July 29 2014 5:20 PM EDT2014-07-29 21:20:54 GMT
FLORENCE, SC (WMBF) - City and state law enforcement agents responded to an officer-involved shooting Monday night in Florence. A suspect accused of trying to rob gas from Cruizers on Palmetto StreetMore >>
A man was shot and killed by a Florence City police officer Monday night, allegedly after a gas station robbery on Palmetto Street. James Goodman was working at the gas station during the alleged robbery. Goodman spoke to WMBF News on Tuesday. More >>
Tuesday, July 29 2014 5:15 PM EDT2014-07-29 21:15:10 GMT
The Horry County School Board made has decided to move forward with new construction that prepares the district for the future, but doesn't go overboard. Consider This: Horry County continues to seeMore >>
The Horry County School Board made has decided to move forward with new construction that prepares the district for the future, but doesn't go overboard.More >>
Tuesday, July 29 2014 4:55 PM EDT2014-07-29 20:55:37 GMT
MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - You could see more changes coming to restaurant row, but these ones don't include road construction or new restaurants. There's a request to bring a whole new kind of businessMore >>
You could see more changes coming to Restaurant Row, but the changes won't include road construction or new restaurants. There's a request to bring a whole new kind of business to that area. More >>
Tuesday, July 29 2014 4:48 PM EDT2014-07-29 20:48:10 GMT
COLUMBIA, SC (WMBF) - Cici's Pizza locations will host the "Cover the Cruiser" benefit on Thursday. The event will raise money for the South Carolina Special Olympics. Hours of the event will last fromMore >>
Cici's Pizza locations will host the "Cover the Cruiser" benefit on Thursday.More >>