Charlotte City Council member Braxton Winston appears to be attempting to avoid sheriff’s deputies seeking to serve him with legal papers, the Mecklenburg County Sheriff’s Office said Thursday.
The sheriff’s office has been trying for several weeks to serve Winston notice of a civil complaint filed against him. The case number indicates that it is domestic in nature, a category that includes divorce, child custody and support, and visitation.
Winston responded Thursday afternoon, telling Longleaf Politics: “Please understand that this is a private matter, children are involved, so I am not going to discuss this in a public forum.” He directed questions to his attorney.
He later posted to Facebook that he is working with the sheriff’s office to receive the papers within 24 hours.
‘Clearly attempting to avoid service’
The sheriff’s office first attempted to serve him January 24 at the home address listed on the complaint, according to a statement from the department. Sheriff’s deputies tried again January 28 and February 11.
After failing those three times, the Mecklenburg County Sheriff’s Office attempted to serve him after Monday’s City Council meeting. A Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department officer and city official waited next to his car in the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Government Center parking lot, but were later told that Winston left by another exit, abandoning his car, the sheriff’s office said.
At this meeting, Winston had pointedly questioned CMPD officers, insinuating they coordinated with federal immigrations officials in an east Charlotte checkpoint.
The sheriff’s office has tried to serve him at alternate addresses several times since then and is now asking for help in finding Winston.
“MCSO records clearly indicate that we have diligently made multiple attempts to serve Mr. Winston,” a statement reads. “It appears that Mr. Winston is clearly attempting to avoid service. … Any information as to the whereabouts of Mr. Winston would be very helpful to assist MCSO in the service of this civil process.”
However, while the sheriff’s office was attempting to serve Winston with these legal papers, Winston appeared on TV with Sheriff Gerry McFadden.
A WCCB clip shows the two Democrats discussing being “historic firsts.”
The sheriff’s office denied that their failure to serve papers stemmed from Winston’s position.
“Allow me to clearly state that the Mecklenburg County Sheriff’s Office does not involve politics in the service of civil process, regardless of the identity, status, or position held of the person to be served,” Chief Rodney Collins said in a statement. “This is a state law mandated responsibility of the Sheriff and something that we take very seriously.