Meck. Sheriff fires back after criticisms from U.S. Attorney over 287g, detainers for undocumented immigrants

Updated: Jun. 5, 2019 at 7:18 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - Mecklenburg County Sheriff Gary McFadden said he “dared” anyone to say he wasn’t concerned about public safety after U.S. Attorney Andrew Murray claimed McFadden’s policies were putting people in danger.

McFadden held a news conference Wednesday to clarify his department’s policies on 287g, ICE detainers and other issues related to undocumented immigrants. His comments came after Murray claimed that McFadden’s policy of not honoring ICE detainers was keeping people from being safe.

“Somebody’s going to significantly be injured or killed,” Murray said.

McFadden said he was sorry to see Murray’s comments in the news.

“I also am very disappointed in the U.S. District Attorney’s office for saying that I may not committed to the safety of this community. I think that my three plus decades of service to this community will speak for itself,” McFadden said.

In his news conference McFadden said that he campaigned on ending the 287g policy.

“287g was a voluntary agreement,” McFadden said.

“No one ever told me that a voluntary agreement was mandatory if you did not choose to.”

However Murray’s complaint about the sheriff’s office was more focused on Homeland Security immigration detainers. McFadden said repeatedly in the news conference that his department will not honor those detainers and only federal warrants.

Murray says that obtaining a federal warrant is a time consuming and inefficient process for immigration issues.

“Mr. Murray argued that trying to get a federal warrant took up a lot of time and resources when honoring a federal detainer might just be easier. Why not do it that way?” a WBTV reporter asked.

“Well that’s what they should have thought about when they were designing it,” McFadden responded. “That is a federal immigration problem, that is not my problem. Maybe if they had come to me when they were designing this, but I was not the sheriff at the time.”

“But if it impacts safety why not do it the easier way?” a WBTV reporter asked.

“We are not letting people out just because we want to let them out. they have a job to do, I have a job to do my job is detention but if that burden is too big it should have never been created, they need to look at that,” McFadden said.

The controversy between Murray and McFadden started with a federal complaint filed against Luis Pineda-Anchetta Tuesday.

Luis Pineda-Ancheta was arrested arrested twice by police in May, with the second arrest coming at the end of an hours-long standoff with CMPD’s SWAT team.

Pineda-Ancheta, who is a native of Honduras, is in the country illegally, according to a criminal complaint filed in federal court by Murray’s office on Tuesday.

The fact that Pineda-Ancheta was released from the Mecklenburg County Jail after his second arrest in May has become a point of contention in the months-long disagreement between Sheriff Gary McFadden and the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

In an interview with WBTV, Murray said he filed the federal action after Pineda-Ancheta was released a second time from state custody without honoring the ICE detainer.

“It’s unfortunate because that mean, really, I’m intervening in significant felony charges," Murray said. ”Basically, I didn’t want a three-peat. I didn’t want him out again, given the allegations against him, to be a threat to the community or to the victim."

According to a release from the Mecklenburg County Sheriff’s Office Thursday, Luis Pineda-Anchecta was returned to the Mecklenburg County Detention Center Thursday following an appearance in Federal Court prompted by a federal warrant issued by federal officials.

The release states, “Sheriff Garry L. McFadden wants to thank federal officials for their support and looks forward to a collaborative working relationship.”

“Issuing criminal warrants and not detainers is a step in the right direction in keeping the community safe,” Sheriff McFadden said.

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