CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police participated in a friendly soccer match with Hispanic business owners on Sunday afternoon.
The event aims to build positive relationships between the Hispanic community and police.
“It just shows the community, we are people like everybody else, we like to play soccer,” CMPD Sgt. Corey Geohagan said.
Raul Penaherrera who owns Tax Service Penaherrera and Machu Picchu Restaurant played for the community team.
"The most important thing is to have a partnership between the community and police,” Penaherrera said.
His team defeated CMPD three to zero.
"We are happy for the victory but at the same time, we are happy to play soccer with the police,” Penaherrera said.
Dispatcher Ambar Ramos attended the game to cheer for the police department.
“It’s nice for the community to know police officers are not just there to give you tickets but they’re also there to have fun with you and connect with you,” Ramos said.
She also said she wanted to show her family police officers are not only present when situations go wrong.
“Everything right now is community against the police and I want them to know...if they are in any type of danger, [officers] are not just there to be scary, but they are also to be there to help them,” Ramos said.
Sgt. Geohagan hopes after the event, people feel more at ease contacting police.
"Often times there is a stereotype, the Hispanic community can be scared of police interactions, just in case they don't have the correct paperwork to be in the country legally. It's just to show them, we are not out there to get them. They are part of the community, we are part of the community and that's the last thing we are worried about,” Geohagan said.
Progreso Hispano, CMPD Westover Division and a committee for Hispanic businesses in South Charlotte organized the third annual soccer match.