Charlotte, NC Police Officer Joins Black Lives Matter Protest March: ‘I’m Glad I Did’

When a North Carolina police officer joined a Black Lives matter protest march in Charlotte, his initial feelings were not exactly optimistic. After he joined the group, though, he decided to listen, and by the end, his feelings had changed.

The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department shared Captain Mike Campagna’s story on their Facebook page, describing it as “an insightful take,” and using it to promote harmony between the public and law enforcement. Campagna calls the protesters “a fantastic group of young people” whose message and goals were “of love and seeking understanding.”

Here’s how it happened.

Captain Mike Campagna had already had quite a busy week, according to his description in his Facebook post.

First, Monday was July 4th. Holidays always entail extra work for law enforcement, and for Captain Campagna, this holiday included fireworks — literal ones. Then there was Tuesday’s visit from President Barack Obama and 2016 Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. This couldn’t have been an easy day — WCNC describes thousands of people “lining the streets” of Charlotte, as they waited for the arrival of the political figures.

Police officer: Black Lives Matter protest followed busy week, including presidential visit. [Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images]Then, there were the two officer-involved shootings, neither of which took place in North Carolina, but both of which resonated around the country, leading to a new wave of Black Lives Matter protests, such as the one that Captain Campagna would attend Saturday night.

If that wasn’t enough to make a long week of police work, on Friday, 11 officers were shot at during a Black Lives Matter protest in Dallas, TX, which, too, resonated around the nation, especially those who are, or who have loved ones who are, police officers themselves. CNN reported that it was the deadliest incident for police since 9/11/2001.

Police officer: black lives matter protest was surprising after officer deaths [Photo by Ron Jenkins/Getty Images]With a week that must have been as emotionally exhausting as physically, barely in his rear view, it couldn’t have been easy for Captain Campagna to leave a pool party to, as he describes it, “babysit yet another group of protesters.”

However, he did his job, and when he got there, it seems he found his attitude toward the protest changing.

“It gave me the opportunity to meet and talk with a fantastic group of young people along with their parents and others. They marched in support of ‘Black Lives Matter’ with a message of love and seeking understanding. I marched along with them and helped stop traffic. We walked and talked about our families and paused to pray a few times.”

That’s not all. Captain Campagna says that after the protest was over, he felt renewed and energized, and that he found himself with new hope for the future.

It’s clear he wasn’t the only one who appreciated the peaceful cooperation between law enforcement and protesters — PJ, the man who organized the protest, tweeted a photo of himself and another protester with the Captain, and a message that’s pretty inspiring for peace and progress.

“Still got work to do but we can do it all together.”

Captain Campagna had a response to that statement as well.

“And he’s right, you know.”

As for the protest itself, the organizer tweeted:

Not all encounters between protesters and law enforcement go as peacefully, but the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Captain’s experience shows that they certainly can, when people are willing to listen, and when participants are able to work together for peace and progress.

[Image via Twitter]