Retired detective calls people who threatened him at polling place terrorists

(Dedrick Russell | WBTV)
Updated: Oct. 25, 2018 at 7:02 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - The man who reported suspicious activity at a Steele Creek polling precinct on Wednesday is calling the suspects terrorists.

Derek Partee, a retired New York detective, says he saw people taking pictures of the precinct. Poll workers say those same suspects visited the precinct before and also took pictures. Partee says from his experience, people who take pictures are surveilling the facility and coming up with a plan to possibly bring harm to that particular building.

"What terrorists want to do is instill that fear so you will not be out here," Partee said.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department (CMPD) says it will have officers patrol precincts until the election is over to add an extra layer of security.

"I think it is an isolated incident," poll worker Nick Clift said. "But we have to make sure that our voters feel comfortable coming here - and they should."

Partee says his training kicked in when he saw the suspects. He went over to the car to take pictures of them and the suspect’s vehicle just in case things got out of hand. He says that’s when things got heated.

"They started flexing on me," Partee said. "'You want some of this?' I said, 'No I'm cool. I am a retired detective.' They said, 'I don't give a [expletive] what you are [racial slur]. And as he is coming at me, now I can see the weapon. I see the butt of a weapon - revolver with a black grip on his waistband."

Partee says after he called 911, the suspects drove away. Partee was campaigning for a Republican candidate. He believes he was attacked not because of politics, but because of his race.

"Given the climate now in this country, people have become emboldened," Partee said. "And it wasn't about me being a Democrat or a Republican or an affiliate - it's about me being black."

Police arrested 28-year-old Jason Wayne Wednesday. Partee says the pictures he took helped catch Wayne. He was charged with communicating threats, disorderly conduct, and ethnic intimidation.

Wayne is no stranger to the law. He has been arrested before for assault and possession of drugs.

"Right away I saw the hate," Partee said. "I saw the hate in both of their eyes."

Another thing that disturbed Partee was the shirt the suspects were wearing. It was a black shirt with a skull on it.

"That skull symbolizes white supremacy," Partee said. "Calling me the N word - black MF - I knew what I was encountering."

Partee says he is glad CMPD caught the suspect and he is behind bars. The former detective says he now feels safe and he hopes police will further investigate Wayne’s tattoos and the shirt he was wearing to determine if police need to label them as a possible threat to certain people.

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