Police have arrested a man accused of harassing and threatening to assault a Black campaign worker at an early-voting location in Charlotte, N.C., on Wednesday.
Jason Donald Wayne, 28, is charged with ethnic intimidation, disorderly conduct, communicating threats and “going armed to the terror of the people,” Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police said in a news release. The department is now working with the FBI to determine whether federal charges are appropriate.
According to WBTV, officers arrived at the Steele Creek voting location around 2:30 p.m. in response to a report of an armed man threatening a campaign worker. The worker, 66-year-old Derek Partee, told police he first noticed a suspicious car and saw the man in the parking lot with a camera snapping pictures of the polling location.
As a former NYPD detective, Partee said he knew something was up.
“He looked kinda scuzzy to me,” he told the Charlotte Observer on Thursday. “And I’m like — to myself, as a retired detective from New York — he’s outta character. He’s outta place. And this is not a tourist area, it’s not a bird-watching area.”
As he approached the car to get a photo of the license plate, Partee said two men and a woman confronted him. That’s when one of the men, later identified as Wayne, started hurling racial slurs at him and lifted his shirt to display a handgun tucked in his waistband.
Partee, who serves as vice chair of the Republican Party for North Carolina’s 12th District, told police Wayne never assaulted him or attempted to pull the gun out of his waistband. The Charlotte Observer noted that open carry is legal for guns and BB guns at polling places unless otherwise forbidden based on the location, such as a school.
The group of instigators fled the scene after Partee used his phone to dial 911. Wayne was arrested several hours later carrying a BB gun in a holster, which was taken in as evidence, WBTV reported. Meanwhile, CMPD officials declined to charge his friends after determining they hadn’t broken any laws, a news release stated.
Moving forward, the department said it plans to conduct additional “zone checks” to supervise polling places between now and Nov. 6.
Partee has continued volunteering at the Steele Creek polling location since the incident.
Watch more in the clip below.