CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - Protesters gathered outside of the Mecklenburg County Jail Monday afternoon.
Mecklenburg County Sheriff Garry McFadden, who says he is in favor of peaceful jail support, said Monday afternoon turned belligerent.
McFadden addressed the group who have been protesting outside of the jail to support those who are released.
He said he wants to build a bridge with the jail supporters if the protesters stop the conflict and disruption.
“I challenge anybody who wants to help me with this jail support and build that bridge,” McFadden said. “Now is the time to step forward. I have to make sure all residents of Mecklenburg County are safe, no matter their race, no matter their color, no matter their political affiliation.”
The sheriff said the group attempted to storm inside the sheriff’s office Monday afternoon, cursed at deputies and attempted to throw items at the building.
That’s when McFadden said he started recording the raucous.
He said deputies witnessed a woman being assaulted by a man outside of the detention center.
McFadden said the confrontation started when a deputy was attempting to arrest the man when members of jail support came over to confront the officer.
Then, jail support protesters attempted to burst through the sheriff’s office lobby doors, banding and cursing, according to McFadden.
“Jail support attempted to come into lobby doors of the arrest processing area,” McFadden said. “Citizens of Mecklenburg County witnessed this. Citizens were confused and asked our deputies to escort them down the street.”
According to jail support protesters, a non-jail support volunteer was arrested. Jail support protesters were there supporting people who were released from jail.
Protesters said about 30 deputies barricaded the group of jail supporters.
“It reminded me of June 17 when over 40 of our folks were arrested,” said Ash Williams.
On June 17, deputies arrested more than 40 people over a jail support setup outside the Mecklenburg County Jail in Charlotte.
Mecklenburg County Sheriff’s deputies had 4th Street blocked off after a group offering support for arrested protesters outside of the jail were told to leave.
WBTV learned that deputies arrested 43 people during the jail support sit-in. Immediately after this happened, community members wanted to know why these people were arrested.
“We didn’t do anything,” one community member said. “We’re peaceful.”
Charlotte Uprising tweeted that the sheriff was “trying to close our jail support program down.”
McFadden said that over the past few weeks, the sheriff’s office has been vandalized -- broken windows, graffiti and even feces in the walkways.
“We (Mecklenburg County Sheriff’s Office) have many civilians walking up and down the streets being taunted, being cursed at, daily,” McFadden said. “We continue to deal with it because we have to.”
The sheriff says he stands behind the premise of jail support, but the disturbances that have taken place over the past several weeks are not the correct way of showing support.
“We have been dealing with this for several weeks,” McFadden said. “Let me make this clear, and no one should ever doubt me because they know my stance in this community, I am for the concept of jail support. There are a lot of things hidden behind jail support. There’s a lot of suff hidden underneath jail support.”
Red paint was splattered on the outside of the Mecklenburg County Jail after a 51-year-old inmate was found unresponsive and later died
McFadden says the inmate died of complications from health issues and that an investigation is still ongoing.