5 Things to Know: Patrick Cannon Joins Charlotte City Council Race
...and four more stories from Feb. 27-March 4, 2022
Patrick Cannon, Others File for Charlotte City Council
The statewide candidacy filing period ended on Friday, and a few recognizable names entered into the Charlotte City Council race just before the deadline. Perhaps most surprising of those names was Patrick Cannon, the former mayor who was arrested just a few months into his term in 2014 for taking bribes.
Patrick Cannon was arrested in March 2014 after he was filmed accepting more than $50,000 in bribes from undercover FBI agents posing as investors. He eventually pleaded guilty to one count of honest services wire fraud and was sentenced to 44 months in a low-security prison, though he only served half of that. He was released in 2016.
On Friday, Patrick Cannon marked his return to the political stage when he filed for an at-large seat on Charlotte City Council. He will run for one of four seats in a race that includes incumbents Braxton Winston and Dimple Ajmera, along with Larken Egleston, who is leaving his District 1 seat to run at large.
Also running as Democrats at large are too familiar names that have spent some time away from the dais: LaWana Slack-Mayfield, who served four terms on council from 2011-2019; and James “Smuggie” Mitchell, who served more than 20 years on council from 1999 until he resigned in January 2021 to take an executive job with a construction company that does business in Charlotte.
On the Republican side, the field includes David Merrill, Kyle Luebke, Carrie Olinski, Charles Mulligan, and David Rice.
Absentee voting for the local primaries is set to begin on March 28, with the start of in-person early voting scheduled for April 28. Stay tuned in the coming days for an in-depth voting guide that lists all local races, the participating candidates and their related experience, along with other resources to help you navigate a confusing election year in North Carolina.
Woman Dies in Custody at Mecklenburg County Jail
The Mecklenburg County Sheriff’s Office is investigating the death of 31-year-old inmate Francine Laney at the Uptown detention center on Wednesday. According to MCSO, Laney was found unresponsive in her cell in the jail’s infirmary at approximately 6:20 p.m. that evening. Medical personnel began administering CPR and first responders connected an IV and administered an automatic external defibrillator (AED) to no avail.
Laney had been in custody at the jail since Jan. 30. Her death comes in the midst of controversy at the jail stemming from staffing shortages and an uptick in violent incidents. The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services has ordered Sheriff Garry McFadden to submit a plan to fix these issues by March 11 and act on it by April 11. McFadden is expected to present his corrective action plan at the Mecklenburg Board of County Commissioners’ public policy workshop on March 8.
Reporting by the Charlotte Observer in October 2021 found that MCSO violated state regulations designed to ensure the safety of detainees in connection with the deaths of two people incarcerated at the Uptown jail within eight days of each other in May 2021. The violations came in staff’s failure to check on detainees as often as they are required to.
Mecklenburg Community Transmission Rates Labeled ‘Low’
Mecklenburg County Public Health released its monthly COVID-19 data dump on Friday showing a drop in most metrics over the past month and putting Mecklenburg County into the “Low” category for community transmission.
According to MCPH, an average of 382 lab-confirmed infections per day were reported among Mecklenburg County residents in February, compared to an average of 2,475 confirmed daily infections in January.
However, the pandemic continues to kill off neighbors and disproportionately affect some underserved communities. MCPH reported 66 deaths among Mecklenburg residents due to COVID throughout February, and of those, more than 40% were Hispanic people, who make up less than 14% of the county’s population as a whole.
Motorcyclist One of Two People Killed on Charlotte Roads This Week
The city saw two traffic fatalities on Charlotte streets this week, making for a total of 15 thus far in 2022. At the end of February, the city was on pace to see 78 traffic fatalities this year, only a slight drop from the 81 recorded in 2020, despite efforts from the city’s Vision Zero program.
Just before 9 a.m. on Wednesday, first responders were called to the scene of a wreck that occurred between a 2015 Honda Accord and a 2005 Toyota Camry at the intersection of Albemarle and Arlington Church roads. The driver of the Toyota, David Denning, was airlifted to Atrium Health-Main with serious injuries and died a couple of hours later.
An investigation found that the driver of the Honda was traveling east on Albemarle Road approaching Arlington Church while Denning was driving the Toyota north on Arlington Church Road making a left turn onto westbound Albemarle Road. The Honda was traveling in the left lane, and its front end struck the driver’s side door of the Toyota. Impairment is not suspected for either driver, and it’s unknown whether speed was a factor. Both drivers were wearing seatbelts.
Just before 8 p.m. the same day, first responders were called to a wreck on Queens Road near Granville Road and found David Borders lying in the grass median next to his 2002 Harley Davidson motorcycle. Medic transported Borders to the hospital, where he was pronounced deadly shortly thereafter.
An investigation found that Borders was traveling south on Queens Road just past Granville Road at a high rate of speed when he lost control and ran off the road into the grass median to his left. The motorcycle slid on its left side through the grass, and Borders was ejected. It is unknown if impairment was a factor in this wreck, but speed is believed to be a contributing factor.
Juvenile Charged with Manslaughter
It appears a shooting incident that took a man’s life on Feb. 23 may have been accidental, as police announced Tuesday that a juvenile suspect has been arrested and charged with involuntary manslaughter in the case.
Early on the morning of Wednesday, Feb. 23, police responded to Annlin Avenue in southwest Charlotte’s Colonial Village neighborhood and found 21-year-old Raquan Smith suffering from a gunshot wound. Medic transported Smith to the hospital, where he died later that day.
Police announced Tuesday that they have arrested and charged a juvenile suspect with involuntary manslaughter – likely meaning the shooting was unlawful but unintentional – and that the suspect and victim were known to each other, though no other details are available.
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