Braxton Winston, the Democratic candidate for North Carolina Labor Commissioner, was blasted Monday on Charlotte-Mecklenburg Fraternal Order of Police’s Facebook page for offering condolences for the four officers killed in an ambush on April 29 in East Charlotte.

Deputy US Marshal Thomas Weeks Jr., CMPD Officer Joshua Eyer, and North Carolina Adult Corrections workers Sam Poloche and William “Aiden” Elliott were killed, and five other officers were injured while executing an arrest warrant for Terry Clark Hughes, Jr. Hughes, who had a long rap sheet. Hughes was also killed by police.

Winston, who has been a vocal critic of CMPD, put out a post on X that said, “All workers deserve to return home safe at the end of their shift. Today, 8 law enforcement officers in Charlotte don’t have that privilege. My heart goes out to the families of those @USMarshalsHQ who have experienced the ultimate sacrifice. Love & strength goes out to @CMPD.”

Source: Braxton Winston II X page.

His post wasn’t updated to reflect the number of officers killed and also wounded.

In addition to receiving pushback for his comments on his post from other posters, Char-Meck FOP posted a scathing three-paragraph response on its Facebook page. 

Source: Char-Meck FOP Facebook page.

The organization said his post was “an insult to every law enforcement officer who endured this man’s reign as a Charlotte City Councilman.”

The Facebook post also links to an article from April 2021 reporting on Winston’s calls for a “gun-free CMPD.”

The post ended with a link to the Republican labor commissioner candidate Luke Farley’s Facebook page.  The statewide race is for an open seat, with incumbent Commissioner of Labor Josh Dobson, a Republican, choosing not to run for reelection.

At a February 2023 Charlotte City Council meeting, Winston put up purchasing ammunition for CMPD for a stand-alone vote. The initial vote for the purchases only garnered four yes votes out of the 11 council members present. The vote passed on the second attempt 6-1.

In an email statement to Carolina Journal, Councilman Tariq Bokhari, who was instrumental in securing the votes to approve the item, said they were “lucky” to get the six votes needed, and Winston ultimately refused to vote for the ammunition.

“This is a protest position that (mayor pro tem) MPT Winston has taken in the past,” Bokhari said. “We appeared later in the week together on Capital Tonight, where Winston provided loose responses to motivation questions including ‘we should be spending more money on de-escalation’ and ‘teachers have to buy their own supplies.’”

Winston is a union stagehand and grip and a member of the Charlotte area sports television and entertainment production community. He first ran for Charlotte City Council in 2017, was elected as an at-large council member, and was reelected in 2019 and 2022. His tenure coincided with much of the ‘Defund the Police’ movement. He stepped down in December of last year.

Prior to his city council tenure, Winston became the face of anti-police protests in 2016 following the police shooting of Keith Lamont Scott.

In 2020, he and about 70 other Charlotte residents were arrested for protesting in the aftermath of the George Floyd killing by Minneapolis Police.

Winston also pushed for the successful prohibition of Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police from buying tear gas and other chemical agents during the protests of the Floyd killing.  City Council voted 9-2 to ban the purchase during the 2020-21 fiscal year.

During that same year, he opposed the city hosting the Republican National Convention.

Winston told WCNC then, “If you are going to bring something to town that is potentially violent, divisive, then we should ask the people of Charlotte how they feel about that as well.”

In response to Charlotte’s Future 2040 Plan in 2021, he spoke out against single-family housing, tweeting that “Single-family zoning is a tool of segregation. If you are fighting to maintain single-family zoning, you are advocating for segregation. Stop being racist, Charlotte.” 

The Commissioner of Labor candidate made more waves last week when he posted on X “The American Constitution is a radical document,” that allows for the breaking of laws. The post, ostensibly made in reference to the arrests of anti-Israel protesters on college campuses, drew quick rebukes from commenters.

Source: Braxton Winston II X page.

Carolina Journal did not receive a response for comment from Winston prior to the publication of this article.