NC mayoral candidate told cops God warned her a killer was hiding in hotel, city says

In a series of disturbing confrontations with police Thursday night, a Monroe mayoral candidate ordered officers to search a hotel Thursday night because God had told her a murderer and other criminals were hiding there, city officials say.

When police later responded to a disturbance call at Angelia James’ home that same night, the City Council member attempted to illegally fire or promote several of the officers at the scene, the city said in a statement Monday detailing the incidents.

When James was then taken to Atrium Health Union Hospital for medical treatment, more confrontations broke out, including one in which she ripped a protective mask off the face of one officer while declaring that the pandemic had ended, the city’s statement said.

In an email to The Charlotte Observer on Monday night, James accused the city and police of fabricating the descriptions of her behavior last week at the Fairfield Inn, her home and at the hospital.

“The police was NOT call(ed) to Fairfield hotel for disturbing the peace,” she wrote. “The police was NOT call(ed) to my residence for a disturbance.”

angelia james.jpeg
Monroe City Council member Angelia James ordered police Thursday night to search a motel because God had told her a murderer and other criminals were hiding there, the city of Monroe says. City of Monroe

James, who was elected to the council in 2019, said she was taken to the hospital based on her own decision “to make sure I wasn’t having a heart attack,” and, she said, to check on a Monroe police lieutenant who had been involved in a traffic accident.

“These lies and rumors must STOP! THEY ARE NOT GOING TO WORK! Please keep my family out of your mouth,” James wrote.

James did not respond Tuesday morning to a series of follow-up questions, including requests for details of her current physical condition and an explanation on why police and City Hall would lie about her.

However, she posted another statement on her personal and political Facebook pages rife with defiant religious imagery:

“NO WEAPON FORMED AGAINST ME SHALL PROSPER! I’M A CHILD OF THE MOST HIGH!” she wrote. “IF GOD IS FOR ME, WHO SHALL BE AGAINST ME. THE ENEMY WILL NOT WIN! GLORY TO GOD! Thank you to those that are praying and supporting me. I love you!”

James is one of three mayoral candidates on the November ballot in Monroe, about 25 miles southeast of Charlotte. She is opposed by fellow City Council member Marion Holloway and Charlotte-Mecklenburg police Officer Bob Yanacsek, a runner-up two years ago.

Reached Tuesday by email, Holloway, the mayor pro tem, said since both James and he are in the mayoral race, it would be inappropriate for him to comment.

But he added that there is video of the incidents.

“Since Mrs. James is a staunch advocate for transparency, I would assume she would want this released. After viewing the referenced videos my position on commenting may change,” Holloway said.

Outgoing Mayor Bobby Kilgore told the Observer that the matter is on the City Council’s Tuesday night agenda and would be discussed in open session. James did not reply to an email asking if she planned to attend.

Council members Freddie Gordon, Lynn Keziah and Franco McGee did not respond to an Observer email Tuesday seeking comment about the situation. Member Surluta Anthony declined to comment.

James is a well-known girls basketball coach at Porter Ridge High School in Union County where her current status is unknown. School principal Kim Fisenne did not immediately return a phone call Tuesday seeking comment.

Tahira Stalberte, the school system’s assistant superintendent for communications and community relations, said Tuesday that James is a volunteer, non-faculty coach and remains in her position as Porter Ridge’s girls varsity coach.

On Thursday night, police say they received a 911 call shortly before 7 p.m. from the Fairfield Inn on Williams Road, calling for the removal of a person who was disturbing the peace. The city identified that person as James.

When police determined that the people she singled out were not felons. James insisted that God had told her they were, ordering officers to seek a warrant to search the entire hotel until they found them, including one who had committed a murder, according to the city’s statement.

James’ husband eventually arrived at the hotel and took her home, the city. Soon, police were called there, too. The city says James continued to threaten the officers while claiming she had already fired police Chief Bryan Gilliard, which, in fact, had not occurred.

Monroe and Union County have been buffeted by turbulent local politics for months. On Aug. 3, the City Council voted 4-3 — and without explanation — to fire City Manager Larry Faison, the fifth to hold the job since 2020.

Meanwhile, Union County Public Schools, already one of only three of state’s 115 school systems to not adopt mask mandates in the face of a resurgent pandemic, voted 8-1 Monday to end contact tracing and most quarantining.

Parents of some students applauded the move. A representative of the state’s largest union for teachers told the school board its decision was “reckless and deeply concerning” and contradicts what health experts, including the Union County Health Department, advise.

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Michael Gordon has been the Observer’s legal affairs writer since 2013. He has been an editor and reporter at the paper since 1992, occasionally writing about schools, religion, politics and sports. He spent two summers as “Bikin Mike,” filing stories as he pedaled across the Carolinas.

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