Paul Brooks recall, Lumbee Tribe, North Carolina (2014)

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An effort to recall Paul Brooks from his position as the Lumbee Tribe chairman in North Carolina was launched in January 2014. Brooks was accused of assaulting the former secretary of the Tribal Council while she was posting an explanation of the recall process of an elected official.[1] He was charged with misdemeanor assault, though the charges were eventually dropped.[2][1] Additionally, Brooks was found guilty in the Lumbee Supreme Court on six contempt of court charges.[3] A recall campaign is being led by a group calling itself the Lumbee Revolution.[4][5] If Brooks is recalled, it will be the first instance of this in the Lumbee Tribe's history.[6]

Background

On November 18, 2013, Louise Mitchell, then the secretary for the Lumbee Tribal Council, filed assault charges against Tribal Chairman Paul Brooks, claiming he "grabbed her arm and pushed her" during an altercation on November 13. Brooks admitted there had been an altercation but said no assault occurred. Robeson County District Attorney Johnson Britt reviewed the case and ultimately declined to press charges. Mitchell was upset with Johnson's decision, saying, "This is an injustice to me. I feel I was not treated fairly. I am highly disappointed in our judicial system in Robeson County. No one heard my story. I am a victim and the law is not working to protect me."[5]

Brooks' response

Regarding the allegations of assault, Brooks said, "I have maintained my innocence from the onset of this charge. It is unfortunate that this situation has taken up so much of the court’s time."[5]

Path to the ballot

According to tribal rules, only registered, or "enrolled," tribal members who voted in the November 2012 Tribal Election - approximately 5,000 members - are able to participate in the recall campaign. Lumbee Law requires that, in order to recall Brooks, 20 percent of those who voted in November 2012 must sign a recall petition requesting an election. If enough signatures are collected and verified, then a recall election is held. If the majority of 30 percent of those who voted in the November 2012 election approve the recall, then Brooks would be removed from office. Supporters of the recall were hoping for an April 2014 election.[4][6]

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