Thursday, March 07, 2024

Democrat Braxton Winston Now Has a Republican Opponent for Secretary of Labor



I've been following Winston's trajectory into politics since he won his seat on the Charlotte City Council in 2017. He promises to be a Democratic star attraction on the fall ballot. Winston was born in North Carolina into a military family, was recruited by Davidson College to play football, earned a degree in anthropology, coaches football part time at Providence Day School, and became an accidental but powerful symbol for Black Lives Matter in Charlotte following the September 20, 2016, police shooting of Keith Lamont Scott. That killing prompted several days of street protests. A chance photograph of Winston by the Charlotte Observer’s Jeff Siner went viral (see below) and catapulted Winston into local fame. He's 40 years old.

On September 20, 2016, Winston was on his way home after coaching a middle school football game. He was driving Old Concord Road past the Village at College Downs apartments, where a ruction was going on. An angry crowd was gathering the way a crowd gathers after a shooting, and Winston pulled over to find out what it was.

Winston actually makes his living as a cameraman -- videographer -- who films home games for the Charlotte Hornets as an independent contractor. He began live-streaming the aftermath of the Keith Lamont Scott shooting to his Facebook page.

A Charlotte cop on the scene told Winston to leave. Winston didn't, and the cop left him alone. The cop already knew Winston as a good man from a previous incident. In November 2015, Winston called the cops to help a Hispanic woman being severely beaten by her husband. There was a big commotion, involving neighbors and a little boy running around crying. Winston grabbed up and hugged the boy to him. With his mother going to the hospital and his father to jail, the little boy didn’t want to leave Braxton's arms, "so Braxton went with us to the hospital. He stayed the whole night, trying to make sure the little boy was OK as he clung onto Braxton...” (according to CharlotteMeck PD Officer Shannon Finis). A year later the same cop allowed Braxton to stay on the scene at College Downs apartments.

Student reporters for The Davidsonian, after several interviews, concluded this: "Winston had never been involved in any protest movement. He thought of tear-gas or potential injury as 'the price I got to pay to speak up on behalf of my children, [on] behalf of myself, and [on] behalf of what I believe in and what the world should look like.' ”

According to Olivia Daniels and AJ Naddaff, "tension between police and civilians escalated. Winston removed his shirt to cover his mouth from tear gas. He approached a line of police in riot gear and thrust his fist in the air in an act of civil disobedience." Jeff Siner took his picture.

Later, after things died down, Winston became a community spokesman, first calling for the resignation of CharlotteMeckPD Chief Kerr Putney and then meeting face-to-face with him and apparently reaching an understanding that there had to be a change in methods for interacting with segments of Charlotte that feel over-policed and under-served. When eventually the police officer who killed Keith Lamont Scott was exonerated because department policy leans way over backward to absolve the government from responsibility when the police kill people without due process, Braxton Winston acknowledged that police followed policy in letting the cop off. But after he was elected to the Charlotte City Council, he worked to reform procedures.

Braxton announced he was planning to run for Secretary of Labor in April 2023 after six years on the Charlotte council (and attaining the distinction of Mayor Pro Tem). He is also a labor activist -- a professional videographer but also, as a stagehand and grip, a union member, in "our region’s robust sports television and entertainment production community" (Winston website).


On Tuesday this week, Farley bested three other Republican candidates for the nomination to run in this race, taking over 30% of the vote and thus avoiding a runoff. 

His website makes him seem like a deeply unserious person. A white-on-red banner on his homepage proclaims "Make Elevators Great Again," an allusion to the former Republican holder of this office, Cherie Berry (no friend of labor), who has endorsed him (that endorsement also loudly proclaimed on his home page). I have my instant doubts about any candidate who begins his introduction, "I am a Christian...." That tells me everything and also precisely nothing about this guy's character.

His main policy obsession appears to be mandated COVID vaccine shots, which he naturally opposes.

He's a lawyer in private practice, specializing in OSHA rules, which on the face of it, in my view, makes him also instinctively anti-labor.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

He should not hold any public office in N.C. He led the riots against the police that casused great damage in Charlotte. He is a disgrace.