Protesters on Sunday ripped down a Black Lives Matter sign from the Mecklenburg County jail in uptown Charlotte then later splashed the building with red paint, according to an email sent by Sheriff Garry McFadden to county commissioners and County Manager Dena Diorio.

According to the email, a copy of which was obtained by QCity Metro, McFadden said the vandalism was the work of a group that offers support to arrested protesters. The Black Lives Matter sign had been hung from the jail’s main entrance at McFadden’s direction.

Before it was torn down by protesters, Mecklenburg County’s Central Jail in uptown Charlotte displayed a banner in support of the #BlackLivesMatter movement. (Photo: Mecklenburg Sheriff’s Office)

The banner was torn down hours after a 51-year-old inmate at the jail was found dead in his cell. The sheriff’s office identified the man as Michael Daniel Mangan.

McFadden did not indicate that the vandalism was related to Mangan’s death, but the sheriff’s email included a photo, posted to Twitter by the group Charlotte Uprising, that showed the paint-splashed building with a caption that read, “Blood is on your hands.”

The jail support group, which McFadden alleged in his email is affiliated with Charlotte Uprising, clashed with McFadden’s deputies last month after McFadden ordered the group’s members removed from public property in front of the Central Jail in uptown Charlotte, where the group had set up a protest camp. At least 40 of the protesters were arrested.

McFadden said he ordered the protesters removed after they began harassing jail employees and defecating on the property.

McFadden’s email to county commissioners included a photo that appeared to show human waste on a walkway outside the jail.

“I do understand the photos my (sic) be somewhat gross. But they are only photos. We, the general public and our visitors experience it in real life weekly,” McFadden wrote in the email.

In a statement concerning the inmate’s death, a spokesman with the sheriff’s office said Mangan was found unresponsive in his cell around 5:38 a.m. Sunday. He was pronounced dead nearly an hour later when efforts to resuscitate him failed, the statement said.

The spokesman said Mangan was booked into the jail on June 10 and did not display any symptoms of Covid-19 and had not been placed in general housing. Inmates who are asymptomatic for Covid-19 are kept in a separate unit for five days before they are reassigned, the spokesman said.

The State Bureau of Investigation, along with the Mecklenburg medical examiner’s office, will investigate Mangan’s death.

“We are devastated by the loss of Mr. Mangan,” McFadden said in the statement. “anyone (sic) who enters our facility is apart (sic) of our detention community and I am deeply sadden (sic); our condolences are with his family.”

Founder and publisher of Qcitymetro, Glenn has worked at newspapers including the Los Angeles Times, St. Petersburg (Fla.) Times, Philadelphia Inquirer, Wall Street Journal and The Charlotte Observer.

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