Meck. Co. Sheriff “Hates” That His Deputies Had To Arrest 43 People Thursday

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – A scene that has remained peaceful for about three weeks by all accounts, boiled over Thursday, as Mecklenburg County Sheriff’s deputies arrested 43 people who refused to leave what’s become the “Jail Support” area.

Kristie Puckett-Williams of the ACLU of NC says, “We appreciate the Sheriff for allowing us to stay here. I wish there could have been more communication, so it didn’t need to lead to this.”

Sheriff Garry McFadden made the decision after he says there were complaints of the group harassing visitors and employees, spitting and banging on windows, defecating on a walkway, a roaming pit bull and more.

McFadden says he gave the group four hours to re-locate, and they didn’t. The Sheriff says, “Of course there was conflict and then we had 43 arrests, which I absolutely hate.” He adds, “This has been going on for week. We had a great relationship, but then like I stressed to everyone, there is an undercurrent coming in that is going to cause a problem. And that problem surfaced today.” And, “Did you see one baton? No. Did you see any pepper spray? No. Did you see a riot helmet? No.”

But Queen City Nerve publisher Justin LaFrancois, who has become a recognized presence at demonstrations in Charlotte, says he was targeted by one deputy. LaFrancois says the deputy tried to force only him, and no other member of the news media, away from the scene. LaFrancois says the deputy slapped his arm, and checked and bumped him repeatedly, and this: “(He) turned around with his package of zip ties and tried to knock my phone out of my hand, explicitly,” says LaFrancois.

LaFrancois says he never touched the deputy. He says, “By me saying on camera that he had assaulted me, he immediately felt the need to change the narrative and say I was assaulting him.”

WCCB asked the Sheriff for comment on the interaction between the deputy and LaFrancois and so far have not heard back. Sheriff McFadden did say he hopes to continue dialogue with the jail support group, which he says he supports, Friday.