Charlotte, NC

Sunny Thursday in Charlotte: Sheriff hopefuls highlight jail issues, Tepper talks HQ, wallet wranglers

Collin Cunningham

By Collin Cunningham

(CHARLOTTE, N.C.) Good morning, Charlotte residents, and welcome to a sunny Thursday, April 28 Roundup! sets today's high of 75 starting at 4 p.m. and continuing through 7 p.m. with a somewhat rainy weekend ahead. Before that, with early voting for North Carolina's May 17 primary election beginning today, we take a look at candidates for Mecklenburg County Sheriff and how their discourse illuminates disturbances at the county jail.

Speaking of disturbances, Carolina Panthers owner David Tepper addressed his franchise's halted headquarters project in Rock Hill, the status of head coach Matt Rhule and Sam Darnold during a Wednesday press conference. Shoppers at the Whole Foods in SouthPark reported having their wallets wrangled from shopping carts and we preview the weekend early with a few events to attend around Charlotte.

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1. Jail tales: Who is running for sheriff of Mecklenburg County, and how will they address detention center concerns?
Mecklenburg County Sheriff Garry McFadden has served in the role since 2018, but two fellow Democrats seek to replace him this year.(Mecklenburg County Sheriff's Office)

What's happening: Early, in-person voting for North Carolina's rescheduled May 17 primary election started today and ends on May 14 at 3 p.m., allowing eligible residents to cast a ballot at one of the locations found here. In local municipal races, two Democratic Mecklenburg County politicians are campaigning to replace acting Sheriff Garry McFadden, the incumbent Democrat who took up the mantle in December of 2018.

Who's running: Below find brief descriptors of McFadden and his opponent along with brief discussions of how their campaign discourse has brought issues at the county detention center to the forefront.

  • Garry McFadden — Described by Google as an actor for depicting himself on reality cop programming like "The First 48" and "Homicide City: Charlotte," the incumbent candidate has received criticism over the past few months for his performance at the Mecklenburg County jail. After visiting the facility in December, investigators from the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Safety issued a report linking overpopulation and staff shortages to an uptick in violent incidents against staff members.
  • Aujiena "Gina" Hicks — Citing 29 years in law enforcement on her campaign website, Hicks started her career at The New York City Department of Corrections before spending 18 years as a detention officer at the Mecklenburg County Sheriff's Office. She told The Charlotte Observer in a recent interview that her top priorities included rebuilding trust and retaining staff while opposing gun violence. Per QCitymetro, Hicks mentioned "unsafe conditions" inside the jail during her campaign announcement. She told WSOC that, if elected, she would once again implement "preventative and deterrent" measures employed by the jail in years past.
  • Marquis Robinson — Another MCSO alumni, Robinson left the local agency in January after a 25-year stint where he spent time as a detention officer and said in February that he knows "the policies of our agencies inside the jail and also outside of the jail." His campaign page sets priorities as reducing deaths among inmates, forming a human trafficking task force, addressing domestic violence more quickly and bringing the MCSO out of obscurity in Charlotte. When asked by WSOC if the jail was safe, Robinson replied "absolutely not," and said he would require new hires to partner with veteran training officers to learn policy.

2. Tepper's talking points: Panthers owner on abandoned Rock Hill HQ, coach Matt Rhule, QB Sam Darnold
Carolina Panthers owner and hedge fund manager David Tepper pictured at Bank of America Stadium in September of 2021.(Mike Comer/Getty Images)

Carolina Panthers owner David Tepper broke a nearly 500-day streak of no press conferences on Wednesday when he spoke at a briefing ahead of the NFL Draft. Here's what the team owner, described by The Observer as "careful," said about three main topics:

  • Rock Hill headquarters: The Roundup reported one week ago that the Cardiac Cats planned $800 million deal to build a headquarters and training facility to Rock Hill from Spartanburg was essentially dead in the water. During Wednesday's conference, Tepper was mostly mum on the topic, directing requests for comment to a statement from a company he owned that chalks blame up to Rock Hill for being unable to issue agreed-upon construction bonds, per The statement alluded to a sit-down between team leadership and Rock Hill officials, and on Wednesday Tepper said "we will be there for the people of Rock Hill, supporting the community in different fashions."
  • Respecting Rhule: Tepper backpedaled on January statements that the team owner was "unhappy and embarrassed" for floating a $62 million contract to head coach Matt Rhule, who ended his second and most recent season with the team with a 5-12 record. Giving Rhule his "full support," Tepper added that Rhule and Scott Fitterer, the team's general manager, have "done a great job of creating that foundation." He's speaking of the team's seven-year deal with Rhule, but also spent time...
  • Discussing Darnold: Tepper had fewer words of admiration for starting Panthers quarterback Sam Darnold, who lost the limelight briefly to former Carolina QB Cam Newton during an interception-riddled early season. The team owner did, however, call Darnold "a very good quarterback" and mentioned his "incredible skills."

3. Whole Foods wallet wranglers: South Park shoppers report cards taken from carts

Shopping at Whole Foods isn't recognized as a particularly cheap experience, but customers of the Amazon-owned grocer's location in SouthPark reported losing more money than usual during recent trips to the store at 6610 Fairview Rd. After browsing with her purse in cart and checking out via her phone per usual, Amanda Long told WCNC that she began receiving texts from her bank asking about possible fraudulent purchases.

Whoever had taken her card apparently went straight to the nearby SouthPark Mall, where Long's savings nearly turned into $2,000 worth of Apple Store products and $4,000 in Nordstrom clothing before her bank denied both buys.

In other news of common thefts in Charlotte, Spectrum News reported that local police are looking to address gun thefts from vehicles after reporting 239 guns had been collected from cars since the start of 2022.

4. Weekend preview: 9 events to occupy readers through Monday

The continuing schedule of warmer weather in the Queen City gives readers reason enough to leave the house, and Charlotte's event runners are ready to meet them with events to match, from a festival celebrating outdoor activities to a pop-up cocktail bar that absconds from alcohol. Here's what to do between April 29 and May 1.

Friday, April 29:

Saturday, April 30:

Sunday, May 1:

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I cover the city of Charlotte, North Carolina for NewsBreak's Creator Program. Check back often for daily headline roundups to learn what's happening in the Queen City!

Charlotte, NC

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