An armed man was arrested at a polling place in North Carolina after he returned to the property where he had already been banned by a precinct official.
Justin Dunn, 36, was arrested by Charlotte-Mecklenburg police and charged with second-degree trespassing after he returned to a polling site at Doug Mayes Place after he had been asked to leave hours earlier for allegedly intimidating voters.
CMPD received a report on Tuesday morning about Dunn, wearing a Donald Trump hat and no mask, reportedly intimidating voters. When officers arrived at around 10:40 a.m., Dunn was asked to leave and banned from the property by the precinct official. He left without incident.
About two hours later, Dunn returned to the property. Police received the report at 12:40 p.m. and went back to the polling place to arrest Dunn for second-degree trespassing.
Dunn is a former Republican candidate for the North Carolina House of Representatives who ran unsuccessfully in 2016. He had voted at the polling place earlier that morning, and loitered there afterwards. The firearm he was carrying was legal and unconcealed.
He spoke to Buzzfeed News, saying he was not there to intimidate voters. “To combat what I thought was intimidation, I said a prayer,” Dunn said. “I thought it was good to go back there to let everyone know I was there legally.”
Dunn said he was the one who was intimidated, when he was “yelled at by BLM people.”
He said he keeps a weapon on him at all times because he is concerned about the murder rate in Charlotte.
The man prompted some individuals to leave without voting.
Dunn was not charged with voter intimidation, a spokesperson for the police department said. “Based on the information provided to officers on the scene from witnesses, there was not sufficient evidence to charge him with [that],” the spokesperson said.
The police department said it is: “committed to protecting the right of our community members to engage in safe, secure and unimpeded access to voting sites.”
Intimidating, threatening, or coercing voters is a federal crime in the United States, punishable by fines and imprisonment.