Police were called twice to a GOP meeting in North Carolina | New

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VICTORIA YOUNG Independent Tribune

CONCORD – Police were called twice to the Cabarrus County Republican Party headquarters on the evening of June 7 in response to an executive committee meeting that turned into a shouting match between members of the public and members of the committee.

The main item on the agenda was for the committee to interview the candidates and vote on their potential endorsement choices for the Cabarrus school board. Traditionally, interviews and votes take place behind closed doors.

Brandon Matthews, one of 35 members of the public, said many parents were worried about potential approvals. The group also took issue with the talks and voting taking place behind closed doors.

The meeting quickly devolved.

Cabarrus GOP Chairman Addul Ali informed the public that interviews and voting would be closed to the public. People in the crowd started asking why they couldn’t see the process. Ali told the Independent Tribune it appeared some members of the crowd were unaware of the committee’s procedures.

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During the meeting, members of the crowd began to raise their voices, as did some committee members.

The audience was asked to leave, Ali said, but it looked like some people weren’t going to budge. The police were called at the request of the committee members.

“We need to be able to conduct our business with decorum and ensure that the executive committee elected by the people of the county can choose the best people possible,” Ali said. “Personally, I didn’t feel in danger, but I have a duty to make sure people are safe.”

A Concord Police Department representative said officers were called to the Cabarrus GOP building around 6:50 p.m. Officers were initially notified that people were protesting outside the GOP building.

“Once officers arrived, it was found that those in the parking lot were not engaged in a protest, but had arrived for a scheduled GOP board meeting. What was explained to our agents was that although a meeting was scheduled, the board meeting was considered a “closed meeting” and those wishing to attend were asked to leave, hence the gathering in the parking lot. At the request of the President, officers did not ask anyone to leave and there was no further action by CPD officers,” the police representative said.

The Cabarrus GOP also issued a statement, saying in part, “We thank the Concord Police Department for arriving to ensure the safety of everyone involved. We look forward to continuing our work to get Republicans elected in the county of Cabarrus.”

The doors to the GOP building were blocked by an armed officer once the group was outside. Matthews said that was wrong.

“The GOP should never have closed its doors to its own people,” Matthews said.

Ali said the doors were never locked, but were guarded.

The group remained outside until the meeting ended around 10:30 p.m.

Police were called a second time to the GOP meeting after talks and voting. Officers were seen escorting some committee members to their cars. Some committee members said they feared for their safety.

“One thing you have to consider, we live in a time where Supreme Court Justices are being harassed, and we live in a dangerous time,” Ali explained. “We have elderly ladies here and they may not have felt as safe as they would have liked.”

Matthews said the group had never been physically violent or intimidating.

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