Former Monroe City Councilwoman files lawsuit over removal from office

The complaint, filed April 23 in the U.S. District Court for the western district of North Carolina, argues that the council “erred in finding/concluding that James engaged in ‘Misconduct in Office.’”
Council members voted to remove Angelia James earlier this month after she was seen stating claims about felons in a hotel and then threatening to fire officers
Published: Apr. 26, 2022 at 8:45 AM EDT
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MONROE, N.C. (WBTV) – A former Monroe city councilwoman is suing over the decision to remove her from office.

Council members voted to remove Angelia James earlier this month after she was seen stating claims about felons in a hotel and then threatening to fire officers in September 2021.

Related: Monroe City Council votes to remove councilwoman over actions in body camera video

The complaint, filed April 23 in the U.S. District Court for the western district of North Carolina, argues that the council “erred in finding/concluding that James engaged in ‘Misconduct in Office.’”

It asks the court to vacate the council’s decision to remove James because misconduct in office requires that the conduct be intentional, and the city council members did not make any findings that James’s conduct was intentional, court documents state.

“To the extent that Council impliedly found James’s conduct to be intentional, that finding is not supported by the whole record, which demonstrates instead that James’s conduct on September 9, (2021) – a day that would end with James hospitalized and receiving treatment for ‘acute psychosis’ – was the byproduct of the sudden onset of a short-lived mental illness,” the complaint states.

The lawsuit also argues the decision to remove James violates her right to free speech.

Since last September, the city of Monroe posted the hearing officer’s report, which lays out, what the officer says, is evidence James engaged in misconduct.

In the report, the City of Monroe hearing officer cited three main reasons to remove James.

The officer says there’s evidence James committed assault and battery on an officer, violated city code of ethics when she said she would fire and promote officers and engaged in misconduct when making multiple false reports to police.

Monroe officials say when they got to the Fairfield Inn back in September, James claimed there were felons on site that needed to be arrested, and one of the felons had committed a murder.

The city says no felons were identified and no arrests were made.

James eventually left the hotel, and police say they were called to her home, but when they got there, she said no one inside the home made a call.

She was taken to the hospital, and officials say, she again said the Monroe police chief was fired and she was firing officers.

“Council would later conclude that James committed ‘misconduct in office’ that day; in reality, James experienced the sudden onset of a mental illness that drastically affected her behavior and caused her to behave like someone other than Angelia James,” court documents state.

The city has not yet responded to the lawsuit.

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