At least 1 arrested as jail supporters gather outside Mecklenburg County jail

At least 1 arrested as jail supporters gather outside Mecklenburg County jail
(Source: John D. Simmons / Charlotte Observer)

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - At least one person was arrested Friday afternoon in front of the Mecklenburg County Detention Center in uptown Charlotte.

A WBTV photographer was at the scene while a protester was detained and deputies closed down 4th Street in front of the jail.

A spokesperson with the Mecklenburg County Sheriff’s Office says a person from the Jail Support group was arrested for “impeding traffic” on the street.

For weeks, protesters have been gathering outside of the jail supporting people who are being released from jail.

Mecklenburg County Sheriff Garry McFadden said in a press conference last week that protesters have become belligerent and disruptive.

The sheriff claims the jail support protesters curse and throw items at his deputies, block traffic in front of the jail, attempt to break into the jail and sheriff’s office and vandalize property.

“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 stuff hidden underneath jail support.”

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 stuff 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.

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