Charlotte man claims unfair targeting by police

by: Greg Suskin Updated:


CHARLOTTE, N.C. - A Charlotte man spoke out Tuesday night, after what started as an arrest for a simple traffic offense turned into what he calls an attempt by police to keep him locked up during the Democratic National Convention.

Jimmy Tyson said he was unfairly targeted in what he calls a politically-motivated arrest.

Jimmy Tyson sat with his lawyer Derek Fletcher when he told Channel 9 he had no idea why police labeled him a potential terror threat.

"I personally believe this was purely politically motivated," Tyson said.

Tyson was driving uptown Sunday night when police stopped him for driving with a revoked license. His license was revoked because of a previous DWI, but Tyson said he was targeted.

Tyson was booked on $10,000 bond, more than 10 times what's typical for a traffic violation.

With the court documents, Eyewitness News found a handwritten note from a Charlotte-Mecklenburg police officer opposing Tyson's request for bond.

Under "Why do you feel the suspect is a risk?" the officer wrote: "Known activist and protester who is currently on terror watch list. Request he be held due to DNC being a national special security event."

A judge reduced Tyson's bond to $2,500, and he was released Monday.

He is an activist and organizer for environmental causes. His Facebook page shows photographs of his involvement in a protest against Bank of America in Uptown Charlotte last spring.

Tyson said the arrest was an attempt to stifle free speech, and to scare him.

"Just being on this list alone is really frightening for me," he said. "This could affect the rest of my life."

Tyson told Channel 9 he didn't plan to be involved in any protests during the DNC. He's expected in court on Oct. 17. His lawyer said he will plead not guilty to the traffic offense.