Facing South
Downtown Mount Gilead, N.C., where an Election Day sting operation has residents concerned about voter intimidation. (Photo by Dincher via Wikipedia.)

Was Election Day drug bust an attempt to intimidate black voters in NC?

Residents of Mount Gilead, a town of about 1,100 people in central North Carolina, are reeling from a police sting operation that netted 59 arrests the morning of Election Day. All of those arrested were African Americans, [CORRECTION: Twenty-five of those arrested were Mount Gilead residents, all of them African-American; those arrested elsewhere in Montgomery County were of various races, according to the Montgomery Herald,] all for possession of drugs, alcohol and guns. Some there are questioning the timing of the bust and believe it was an attempt to intimidate African Americans from showing up at the polls that day.

Police began rounding up suspects early in the morning, before polls opened, and, according to Mt. Gilead residents interviewed, none were released by bond until after 7:30 p.m. when polls were closed.

"It was a form of voter disenfranchisement and intimidation," said Mount Gilead resident David Allsbrook by phone. "That's what it was done for, to offset votes."

But North Carolina Department of Public Safety spokesperson Patty McQuillan said she doesn't believe it had anything to do with elections. "I didn’t even know it was Election Day," she said when reached by phone.  

According to a press release from the department, about 100 officers and deputies from four town police departments and the Montgomery County Sheriff's office swarmed Mount Gilead in search of 68 suspects at "four illegal alcohol outlets." A local newspaper report said they began at 4:30 in the morning. They arrested 59 people and confiscated "approximately 200 grams of cocaine, 400 grams of marijuana, 40 liters of alcohol, 25 grams of opiates and three guns."

According to Allsbrook, who's lived in Mount Gilead most of his life, the people arrested were known alcoholics and drug addicts, not drug dealers. Undercover agents had been gathering evidence on the suspects since early 2013, according to the press release.

"The operation's results were outstanding," said Montgomery County Sheriff Dempsey Owens. "The Montgomery County Sheriff's Office is proud to have been a part of such a successful operation. I look forward to many more operations like this one in the future."

Allsbrook said he believes the bust was done to affect the outcome of several races -- two involving African Americans running for town hall commissioner seats and the re-election of Mayor Patty Almond, a white woman who had the support of the black community.

Almond lost to Earl Poplin by about 90 votes -- a larger margin than the number arrested that morning.

But Allsbrook said the families of those arrested spent most of the day trying to make bail for their family members, while others throughout the community may have been afraid to come out.

"They do anything they can to intimidate people," said Allsbrook of the police.

Reached by phone, the outgoing mayor said the police operation "scared the dickens out of a lot of the people who lived around" those arrested.

"We feel their right to vote was taken from them," said Almond. "It's a stretch for me to think that this was a coincidence. If this is something they are trying to do to keep voters away, then this is pretty below-the-belt."

Almond has herself been stung by controversy in her campaigns to become mayor of Mount Gilead. In the 2011 election, she lost by just two votes. It was later discovered that four black voters were denied ballots when their town residencies were challenged. The state board of elections voted to throw the results out and have a new election, which didn't happen until November the following year. Almond won and was finally installed in office in December 2012.

Having served barely a year, she was up for re-election last week. Almond said in our interview that she was considered an "outsider" because she grew up in Charlotte, and that her push for more transparency in how the town used government funding may have won her some enemies.

As mayor, she said she also tried to push for more social equality, but "that's just not a popular thing to do in rural America."

McQuillan of the state public safety department said the timing of the sting probably was just "the only day that all of them could get together," meaning the police involved.

"It's so hard to find a date where there isn't this or that thing happening," said McQuillan. "It's almost impossible to schedule anything because there is always something going on."

But Election Day comes only once a year.

Image: 
Downtown Mount Gilead, N.C., where an Election Day sting operation has residents concerned about voter intimidation. (Photo by Dincher via Wikipedia.)
Downtown Mount Gilead, N.C., where an Election Day sting operation has residents concerned about voter intimidation. (Photo by Dincher via Wikipedia.)
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Y'all are so ignorant ,

Y'all are so ignorant , discriminating against black people , Really if you want this shit to stop create jobs , give people stuff to do , out of all those empty stores on main street only 3 or 4 open that's pathetic, y'all don't want nonthing to change if y'all did y'all would have been done It . At the end of the day all y'all are low down dirty racist civilans that's quick to judge , also not saying that I agree with drug dealing but that's how people eat & feed their families so don't be quick to. Judge people .

I tried to ignore this

I tried to ignore this blatant ignorance but couldn't. As an African American Professional Multi-Disciplinarian who resides in Montgomery County (Mount Gilead), whose focus is on making a positive difference in this community and the world, I am insulted at the inference that I, or any other responsible member of the African American Community can be, or would be influenced by the activities of Drug Dealers. Instead of Encouraging, Enlightening and Sharing Knowledge with each other, we're wasting time on this. The sense of entitlement from a segment of our society who think they have a clue of the intellectual composition of this community, let alone speak for me, or others, is mind numbing. In other words, these YAHOOOS are saying, black folk didn't come out to vote because their goings and comings are connected to the illegal drug trade. I'm ashamed!

Bad Karma?

First and foremost, David Allsbrook and Patty Almond are co-founders of the Mount Gilead Chapter of the "Hug-a-Thug" Program. They align themselves with the drug dealers/users, alcoholics, and other criminal element in order to manipulate the uneducated and illiterate.
Secondly, Patty "Melt" (so called after her reference to the MGFD as uneducated redneck rodeo cowboys), loves to put herself in the middle of everything except Truth. She takes credit for other's work. She has been an embarrassment to Mount Gilead for far too long. So glad she lost the election.
Now, to blame her loss on a sting operation is ignorance. Big surprise. Stupid is as Stupid does. It is time for Mount Gilead to move forward.

Hug a Thug or Embrace Thieves, Which is Worse?

Anthony Allsbrook (Dave) and Ms. Almond are co-founders of the Mount Gilead Chapter of the "Hug-a-Thug" Program? If that’s the case, then the rest of you must be members of “Embrace/Protect the Thieves” Program. It all will soon come to an end..; Evil and wrong doing don’t last forever!!!!

A town that hates the truth and those who speak it

George Orwell an English novelist once stated “The further a society drifts from the truth, the more it will hate those that speak it”. I think some of the citizens of Mt. Gilead has drifted from the truth if they think that Election Day Raid wasn’t an attempt to discourage people from coming out to vote, regardless of how many votes was cast….; the Election Day raid was nothing but a safety net , a “just in case” counter measure. To the current Mayor and all those who support you “continue to seek the truth”. In all my years of living have I ever witness such a back wood town such as Mt. Gilead.

Mt. Gilead, NC is a breeding ground for corruption

Mt. Gilead, NC is nothing but a breeding ground for corruption and social injustice. EVERYONE knew that Election Day bust was nothing more than an effort to eliminate people from voting. As for those young men hanging out on the town square...; I’m 100% sure if there were any jobs in that corrupt town..; they wouldn’t be doing what they are doing. As I stated above, Mt. Gilead, NC is nothing but a breeding ground for corruption and social injustice. Mt. Gilead town manager was terminated from the same position in which she currently holds from Maxton, NC. She was the perfect fit for corruption that goes on in Mt. Gilead, NC. Earl Poplin and that entire previous Board of Commissioners didn’t do anything but steal money and falsified data in order to get money from the State of North Carolina Grant Programs..; that’s why Earl Poplin re-ran for mayor because he and that entire previous administration knew Pat Almond was about to uncover all the corruption that has taken place. Why are Earl Poplin, the Town Manager and the entire Board of Commissioners so afraid to have their books audited? Mt. Gilead, NC, is a breeding ground for corruption and the Election Day bust just goes to prove how true that statement is!!!!

Ha!

It just appears to be typical. Everyday across the globe as I travel the so called African American is always trying to find an excuse or brag about something that they cannot accomplish due to something others have or have not done to them.
For starters, make every candidate complete a mental exam to include an IQ test before they can even run for any type of office, I would even do it for the individuals that vote.
I lived in MG for most of my up bringing, so I do recall seeing half naked (pants hanging down around their ankles) African American males and it made the city be the bucket of an out house.
To all citizens of the town and county should be thanking the local responders. This is me thanking them.

I myself lived in Mt. Gilead

I myself lived in Mt. Gilead most of my life. Consider that the majority of citizens there are African American probably around 75%. I know David and his brothers personally. I can understand his thinking on this issue. Unfortunate as it may be the petty bickering in Mt. Gilead goes beyond race. Economic issues, high property taxes, lack of good paying jobs,shortage of decent housing,and a lack of effective police protection are some of the problems that hamper Mt. Gilead's path. Mt. Gilead has been known for years for it's excessive crime rate and drug problems. The timing by law enforcement however is unfortunate but I'm sure these individuals would have been provided ballots had they just bothered to ask.

Dumb and Dumber and Dumbest

Author of this ridiculous article is dumb

David (Dave) Alsbrook is dumber

Patty Almond has to be the dumbest person on earth

(evil too)

People need to know what they

People need to know what they are talking about before making a statement about the "round up"! The round up was a COUNTY wide effort to clean up the streets. May I remind everyone that the people who were arrested were NOT all African Americans! All you have to do is look on the front page of the recent Montgomery Herald Newspaper and see a picture of a Caucasian women being arrested during the round up! More than half of the officers involved were not directly affiliated with Mount Gilead! Most of these officers were from state and federal agencies that were not even aware of the Mount Gilead election drama, let alone local politics!! We should be thankful that law enforcement officers are trying to finally cleanup these streets! I live in Mount Gilead and it is sometimes embarrassing to tell people where I live because a lot of people say to me-"Oh yea, Mount Gilead is where you ride through town and people are hanging around the convenience stores selling drugs and who knows what else!" It's a fine time we clean up the streets and bring Mount Gilead's reputation back!

Mt. Gilead, NC

We lived in Mt. Gilead for a short time over 40 yrs. ago. I guess that's when the population was maybe about 500. - It was a nice, quiet little town then. I drove in to town every 2 wks., did my laundry, ate lunch at the local drug store soda fountain, my son and I went to a ceramics class (I still have the things we made in ceramics class!)- It was nice there. Husband worked at a small factory there; and we lived on the lake just outside of town. I realize you can't go back in time; it's a shame. Mt. Gilead was nice then; as I'm sure it still is in most ways.

All 1100 people in the town

All 1100 people in the town are not voters...have you forgotten the under 18 population? Also, a lot of people over 18 are not registered to vote all across this country. I suspect Mount Gilead is no different. All of the arrests made that day were not even in Mount Gilead or from Mount Gilead. It was a county-wide bust. All of those arrested were not black either. I checked the list of early voters and many of those from Mount Gilead that were arrested had already voted early, before Election Day. These are pathetic losers grasping at straws. The people of Mount Gilead know this. Patty did her self in over the last year by showing the voters that she was anything but "mayor material". The Institute for Southern Studies should not be misused to promote her nonsense. This is just another case of Patty and her minions abusing a pro-social justice group that normally does wonderful work, just like she suckered the Southern Coalition for Social Justice last year.

Painfully one-sided article.

Painfully one-sided article. Did anyone contact law enforcement in Mt. Gilead and/or Montgomery county?

If you out here in these

If you out here in these streets doing illegal activities, man up an accept the responsibility of your actions! The law is the law! I don't care if it's a gram of drugs if it's illegal it's illegal! I don't feel sorry for any of the addicts or dealers that got busted! The dealers n addicts been abusing n selling drugs since my childhood, im currently 37! The town needed the bust, people in the community are tired of seeing these addicts n dealers on the corners daily! You can't even go to the corner store without being harassed by addicts for loose change! Its plenty of former addicts from this town who went to rehab and turned their life around! If they were going to vote, it was because they where getting something in return! Everyone knows addicts and dealers are not into politics!

Chances are that most of

Chances are that most of these arrested are already felons and can't vote anyway!

Patty is the worst thing that

Patty is the worst thing that ever happened to Mt. Gilead. Look up David Allsbrook on the NC Dept. of Corrections website and you will see why he cares so much about the criminal element. All of the legitimate black folks in town are supporters of Poplin, not Patty Almond. This includes the 3 black town commissioners and the black town manager, all of whom are wonderful citizens. This article is complete nonsense. The author should actually get his facts before writing based on completely subjective, one-sided, untruths.

Mr. / Ms. Anonymous; you are

Mr. / Ms. Anonymous; you are 100% correct, my name do appear on the NC Dept. Correction website..; and what happen in Mt. Gilead on the 5th of November has nothing with me caring about any elements of crimes or the criminals but the timing in which the MGPD decided to make their arrest. We had an election on 11/5, the police did their raid on 11/5 and..., never in county history has there been such a raid on any election day. State or Federal..; but the MGPD made history with that one!!!! “All of the legitimate black folks in town are supporters of Poplin”.., that’s one the biggest fibs you could ever been told!!!

Why is Local Reporting Been So Misleading?

I can’t believe local reporter WMTG Radio is being so misleading concerning their reporting, nowhere in the article does the Mayor Almond criticize the police for doing their job or stated she had the support of the entire African American Community. I could care less what spokesperson Patty McQuillian or the officers stated about “not knowing it was election time”. In the odd years, on the first Tuesday of every November it’s election time. Do they realize how “dumb” that make them seem…; do their homework and check and see if there has ever been any such a “bust” on Election Day in Montgomery County or North Carolina as a matter of fact.

http://wmtgradio.wordpress.com/2013/11/14/mount-gilead-mayor-citizen-acc...

"They do anything they can to

"They do anything they can to intimidate people," said Allsbrook of the police."

Almond's camp will do anything to look like victims when they (she) tends to stir the pot without the help of others.

As mayor, she said she also tried to push for more social equality, but "that's just not a popular thing to do in rural America."

The only thing she's pushed for is social division.

Mount Gilead Drug Bust

It gave me goose bumps

Goose bumps, really? Happy

Goose bumps, really? Happy meals at McDonald's and alcohol from the ABC store give some folks goose bumps too.

I live in this small town and

I live in this small town and have had more than enough of Mayor Almond's attempts to polarize our town into racial groups. She has divided the town to the point that people who have known each other all their lives barely speak. She participates in NO town activities, she has more than once referred to the volunteer fire department as rednecks, she has made political promises that she did not (could not) keep, and she acts as if she is above the citizens here in town. Don't judge my town by what Patty says--she sees things through "tinted" lenses.....

patty ban

as a property owner in mount gilead i think i will ban her for life from my properties not because is bad for m.g. its because of her looks like she is sucking lemons

Drug Addicts who vote?

I have yet to meet a drug addict who voted on a regular basis. Whether or not drugs should be illegal is a fair question. Whether or not it was a good use of time to research these addicts for a year and then use 100 officers to round them up and only come up with approximately 6 grams (or 0.01 pounds) of pot per person is a good question - I would be pretty upset if I were a Mt. Gilead resident and I knew how much this operation costs. But it seems like a magnificent leap to think that this was some ploy to suppress 59 people from voting.

The mayor lost by only 90

The mayor lost by only 90 votes in a town of over 1000 people. If we assume an average of 4 members to a family, nearly 240 people (almost a quarter of the town!) lost the realistic opportunity to vote that day. If only half of these (most of which most weren't arrested for being drug addicts) had turned out to vote for Almond, she would have won. I don't see that as a 'magnificent' stretch at all, and in fact, I think if they did the right thing and gave people who were hindered from voting then the right to use their vote now, Almond would win for sure. I personally don't know either mayor or the situation, but I do question the abilities of the police force to carry out such an elaborate sting on 100% blacks without being aware of an racially divided election day in their own town, where everybody knows everybody. If you ask me, it's too much to be a coincidence.
And when was the last sting arresting 59 people? According to the release, they've been preparing this one since early 2013. And this IS a really small town. So chances are, it's been at least 6 months since the last big one, if not longer. After 6 months of planning their operation, you're telling me they weren't aware and didn't plan for the one day that affects the future of their town? Again, if you ask me, it's way too much to be a coincidence.

This is an instant where

This is an instant where "ignorance is bliss". Your calculation of how many family member didn't get to vote is irrevelant. Mainly because the 59 arrested were from the ENTIRE county, not Mt. Gilead alone. Also you're "100% blacks" sting is WRONG. Why must people be so ignorant. If you'd pick up the paper you'd see this was by no means 100% black people. It baffles me that any "political figure" would complain that the drug dealers/users didn't get to vote because she thinks they would have voted for her. Why on earth would anyone else ever want to vote for you if you're the one the drug addicts are choosing? Thanks I'll pass.... And it's sickening that the "race card" still gets played!!!!!!!! Moooovveee on people. You will never in you life realize that this "race issue" is felt by ALL RACES! To add to that it's not just about race anymore, it's gender, body size, body feature, you are judged for every single part of you by everyone you encounter. It's you're job as a working, functioning human being to move past that and just do what best for you, everyday. Lastly, I find it disgusting that people actually believe that "it's not fair" that the ones who went to jail didn't get a chance to vote, are you kidding me?!?!? I work for everything I have everyday. I don't sling dope, and make a ton of money for almost nothing. I work a normal job. I have the right to go and vote. If I'm am idiot that's slinging drugs, or smoking them, then I don't deserve to vote. If you don't pay your power bill, power goes off; therefore, if you don't abide by the law, you shouldn't have the right to choose who goes in office anyway. Seems fair to me! It's not like you're going to pay any attention to what they are doing for your town anyway...just as long as the drugs keep coming and making you money. GTFO

Not all of the arrest were in

Not all of the arrest were in Mt. Gilead - It was a countywide bust that netted 59 arrest. Those arrested were not all in Mt. Gilead. One must live in the town limits to vote. Many arrested reside in other towns. After reviewing the list of arrest published in the local paper, not all the arrest were of African Americans. There are other races represented in the bust.

In this small town of nearly

In this small town of nearly 1000 people, all are not of voting age. Before you talk about numbers, perhaps it would be prudent to check the number of registered voters. How paranoid must a person be to see this as attempt to keep Patty Almond from being reelected? Please stop trying to make the news by screaming race in a small town. Allow Mt. Gilead to heal.....

...will Mt. Gilead ever heal

...will Mt. Gilead ever heal from all the social injustice that goes on in that God forsaken town?

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