No one can lie like a politician, especially one who is young and fresh-faced and espouses an innocent demeanor of dedication to truth and justice. This report on the Democratic candidate for the United States Senate in Maryland is not intended to help her opponent, as THE CHESAPEAKE TODAY has chronicled many of the missteps of former Governor Larry Hogan during his time as Governor.


Yet, Prince George’s County Executive Angela Alsobrooks, the Democratic candidate for the United States Senate in Maryland, has intentionally twisted the tragic story of her great grandfather’s death to fit the narrative of her life story.  In doing so, she fits right in with the decades of corrupt political leadership of the Democratic Party, which has long ruled Prince George’s County. The politician who hired Alsobrooks as a prosecutor ended up convicted of multiple counts of corruption, and as the FBI closed in Prince George’s County Executive Jack Johnson and his wife, Council Member Leslie Johnson, she stuffed cash in her bra and attempted to flush checks down a toilet. They both went to prison.

A YouTube clip of Alsobrooks reciting the alleged facts that resulted in her great-grandfather’s death is in direct conflict with the Coroner’s Inquest held in 1956 in Oconee County, South Carolina.

Alsobrooks’s characterization of her great-grandfather’s death shows that besides being educated at Duke University and the University of Maryland Law School, she likely did post-graduate work at the Al Sharpton School of Race Hustling. With her slightly southern accent, polished delivery, and unblinking sincerity, Alsobrooks quickly gains the swooning of her adoring audience as their collective umbrage at years of racial injustice percolates.

Incredibly, Alsobrooks told the crowd gathered at the University of Maryland for Black History Month in 2019 that a sheriff deputy found her great-grandfather and confronted him, drew his gun, and shot him three times, saying, “Dance, nigger, dance.”

Alsobrooks said that the Sheriff shot her great-grandfather, J. C. James, because the Sheriff had been embarrassed in an earlier incident when a white deputy stood up for James, who had been accused of driving drunk, but he wasn’t drunk; she said he had epilepsy. Alsobrooks then said her family was told to leave town if they didn’t want to suffer the same fate, and they fled to Prince George’s County.

The mass media of Maryland is more than willing to pull a tragic event from the family story of Angela Alsobrooks and repeat reports of various outlets without fact-checking or putting any effort into research to determine if there was more to the story.



The Washington Post included this sentence in their endorsement of Alsobrooks in the Maryland Democratic Primary: “At the same time, Ms. Alsobrooks knows what it means to battle systemic injustice and to struggle economically. Her mother’s family came to Maryland from South Carolina after a White sheriff’s deputy fatally shot her unarmed great-grandfather in 1956.”

The Post never sought the original transcript of the Coroner’s Inquest into the death, which has been readily available for any media to request and is shown below in this article. The transcript shows clearly that her great-grandfather was fighting for control of an officer’s nightstick as he refused to be placed under arrest. The tragic death was witnessed by several people who provided their accounts of the interaction between J. C. James and the Seneca Police Officer who shot him dead. None of the witness testimony confirms the language stated by Alsobrooks as she sought political office before a friendly crowd decades later
The Oconee County Coroner confirms that the only media outlet to request this information thus far was THE CHESAPEAKE TODAY.

Prince George’s County Executive Angela Alsobrooks delivering a speech at UMBC claiming that a white sheriff said “dance, nigger, dance” when killing her grandfather in Seneca, S. C.

As a keynote speaker at the University of Maryland Martin Luther King Memorial on February 8, 2019, Alsobrooks was quoted in the UMB News the following: While recalling King’s history, Alsobrooks recounted her own, both personal and professional. She said her great-grandfather was killed by a sheriff in South Carolina in the 1950s, in a crime that was never prosecuted, and that her family was forced to flee the town and make its way north to Prince George’s County in Maryland.

Oconee County Coroner’s Jury ruled Seneca Police Officer Charles Lee acted in self-defense and the line of duty when he shot and killed J. C. James.



Of the residents of the area who testified that they were fifty feet from the confrontation between James and Officer Lee, none of them recounted the inflammatory statement alleged to have been made by Officer Lee to Alsobrooks’s great-grandfather, as she recited to the gathering for Black History and MLK in 2019.



About John Bolt Culbertson:
Culbertson next turned his attention to the 1951 race for mayor of Greenville, in which his platform was largely based on putting a stop to police brutality and city government cronyism and helping textile mill workers.  Although unsuccessful in his campaign, it offered him a venue for speaking publicly about his views, including twice-day radio broadcasts. Around this time, Culbertson became involved with the NAACP.  During the 1950s and early 1960s, he was on the road many weekends to speak before local and regional branches of the group and to recruit new members.   He also worked in his legal capacity to try to force admission of African-Americans to South Carolina’s jury pools, and continued his representation of labor unions, laborers, and victims of discrimination. 

His efforts led to a profile in the July 1956 issue of Ebony magazine, proclaiming him “The South’s Bravest White Man,” which also detailed some of the setbacks he endured to his legal career and social life as a result of his principles. 

Albert Watson

John Bolt Culbertson, lawyer, and activist, was a “liberal lion” of South Carolina’s Upstate for most of the twentieth century, establishing a law practice in which he represented unions, the working class, disabled veterans, African-Americans, and others in need of a voice—many of whom could not afford to pay him.  His outspokenness and his political leanings, atypical for South Carolina at that time, resulted in financial setbacks, insults, and even crosses burned on his lawn, but Culbertson was largely undaunted.  At the same time, he was acknowledged by friends and adversaries alike as sincere and forthright in his activism.  Early South Carolina Republican Albert Watson wrote to Culbertson in 1971 of a common feeling among many of his friends—that “while a person may disagree with your political party or philosophy, no one would ever question the sincerity and integrity of John Bolt Culbertson.”
 — South Carolina Political Collections  — John Bolt Culbertson Papers,

John Bolt Culbertson Oral History Interview, 1982 December 22

Description: An oral history interview by William Gravely on December 22, 1982, with John Bolt Culbertson, a former state legislator and a defense attorney, in the May 1947 trial of suspected participants in the lynching of Willie Earle.

John Bolt Culbertson represented the James family at the Coroners Inquest on July 12, 1956, as the shooting death of J. C. James was examined and witnesses were questioned by him.

“Born at Maddens Station, South Carolina, Culbertson was the sixth of 14 children. A Greenville defense attorney he was an advocate for the needs of all people, regardless of race, or the ability to pay large sums of money for legal defense. He worked with the NAACP, advocating equity for all, causing him to be despised by many. He was also the lead attorney for African-Americans who successfully sued Jasper County to have the right to sit on juries.”–KnowItAll.Org

The key figures at the Inquest

The record of the Inquest held on July 12, 1956, states that John Bolt Culbertson of Greenville, S. C., was present representing the family of J. C. James, and Edward H. Ninestein, attorney at law from Walhalla, S. C., was present to represent Officer Charles Lee. 

Judge-Edward-H.-Ninestein-biography. from University of South Carolina Law Library.

During the long session, attorney Culbertson questioned Ninestein as to what party he was representing, noting that Ninestein is the attorney for the City of Seneca.  Ninestein affirmed his role that day was to represent Officer Lee.

However, the story that Alsobrooks has been spinning to Washington and Baltimore area lapdog media eager to find more ways to incite the public with accounts of racial injustice and slayings of blacks at the hands of white police officers doesn’t jive with the thirty-three-page transcript of the inquest. In one report, the 93-year-old aunt of Alsbrooks made inflammatory recollections of what the Seneca Police officer consistently misidentified as a Sheriff and a Sheriff Deputy instead of as a member of the City of Seneca Police Department.

 It is one thing for an elderly woman to repeat a family remembrance of a tragic death, but it is quite another for a learned attorney and public official such as Alsobrooks to do the same despite the absence of any such witness statement at the inquest. Witnesses at the inquest did not mince any words about what they saw or what took place as a competent attorney for the family questioned them.

It is quite understandable that those furious about the death of a black man at the hand of a white cop could confuse the difference between a police officer for the City of Seneca and a deputy sheriff for Oconee County.  A person who has served as a prosecutor, elected twice as Prince George’s State’s Attorney and elected as County Executive of Prince George’s County would be expected to speak factually.

The inquest held on July 12, 1956, at the City Hall in Seneca, South Carolina, by Oconee County Coroner J. W. Manley, was attended by more than 500 people, which overflowed from the Seneca City Hall where the inquest was held.  The Coroner’s Jury was composed of Cleo Bearden, Foreman; Harold McKern, Edd Graham, James E. Dean, Joe R. Dean, and John Bearden.  The full transcript is included in this article, as shown below.

A press report in the Seneca Journal includes a photo of the crowd, showing both black and white citizens attending the inquest. The photo is included in this record and provided along with the transcript by Oconee County Coroner Karl Addis to THE CHESAPEAKE TODAY.  

There is no indication that The Washington Post, ABC7, or other media that covered Alsobrooks’s claims in interviews with them ever requested the original Inquest records, as those media never used them or cited the use of the records or witness testimony.

Excerpts of the Coroner’s Inquest

The transcript includes the eyewitness testimony of several black residents who were at the scene when James was stopped as he walked along a dirt road by Seneca Police Officer Charles Lee.

Culbertson quizzed the Coroner and the Jury about whether any of them were related by blood or marriage to Officer Lee. Coroner Manley stated that he had asked previously and affirmed once again that none of the members of the Jury have any relationship to Officer Lee.  

Walter Jackson said he was present in Seneca as he had traveled from Philadelphia for a funeral. Jackson said it all happened on the dirt road by the colored school. He saw James stopped by Officer Lee and then pat himself down. Lee later said that was because he feared James was either carrying bootleg whisky or a gun.

Jackson gave a vivid description of the fight between the two men and never recited the words used by Alsobrooks in her speech in 2019. Jackson testified that he clearly heard Officer Lee order James several times to get in the police car. Under questioning, Jackson stated that both James and Lee were struggling for control of the nightstick.

Witnesses stated that Officer Lee was attempting to place James under arrest for disorderly conduct when James grabbed a blackjack that Lee struck James with when he refused to get in the police car. Officer Lee said that as a struggle ensued, James told him that he was going to kill him and called him a white son of a bitch.  Lee said that he pulled James over to his police car and, reached inside for a nightstick and began to swat James over the head with it. And in the struggle, James was starting to get the best of him, causing him to pull out his pistol and fire it several times, to no avail, and finally, a third or fourth shot to James in the belly caused him to begin to slump downwards, where Lee lowered him to the ground. Lee called to bystanders to call for an ambulance.  

Attorney Culbertson asked Jackson if he saw James do anything to justify Officer Lee shooting him, and Jackson said no.

Q: “Had J. C. done anything that you could see that justified that officer shooting that man?”

A: “No, sir.”

Q: “Did the officer have any bruises on him?”

A: “No, sir.”

Q: “Did the officer have any scratches?”

A: “I did not look close enough for scratches.”

Q: “How many times did he shoot him?”

A: “I saw the movements of the clothes three times.”

Q: “Did J. C. ever curse this man?”

A: “I did not hear him open his mouth.”

Q: “After the first lick on the side of the head, or wherever it was, what was the behavior and appearance of J. C.?”

A: “Well, he staggered backward and threw his hands up and turned his head to one side.”

Q: “And from the first lick until he lay there dead on the ground, had he done one thing to justify this officer’s hitting or shooting him?”

A: “From what I saw, he did not do anything.”

Q: “You say you saw it all, didn’t you?”

A: “I reckon the reason I said this is that I don’t know whether he might have jumped him somewhere else down there.”

Q: “Did you hear the officer say anything like ‘you are under arrest’?”

A: “No sir, except ‘get in the car’.”

Q: “Did he say, ‘I have a warrant for you’?”

A: “No, sir. Only thing I heard was ‘get in the car.’”.

SECOND WITNESS, DAISY HARRISON, being duly sworn, testified as follows:

BY CORONER: Where do you live?

  1. I live in Seneca.

Q.   Where this took place?

A. Yes.

Q. Took place in your yard?

A.  Yes. About…more in the yard than it is in the drive.

Q. Go ahead and tell the jury just what you seen. I believe it was in the morning of July fourth.

A.  Was in the afternoon. As far as I seen of this happening. I saw J.C. walking along this foot path on the bank. Then I saw the officer turn and come down behind. They stopped a little way behind a telephone post down there. What was said, I don’t know. Then later I saw the officer drive off. Then J. C. walks on down this path right into my driveway. Then I saw J. C. pat himself down like this (demonstrates with hands).

Q.   Do you know what he meant by that?

A.  No, I don’t.  I saw him pat himself down, then I heard Mr. Lee say to James…he got out and patted him down – Mr. Lee patted James down.

Q.  Well, did you see Mr. Lee get anything off him?

A.  No sir.

Q.  Now wait a minute there, how far were you from where James and Mr. Lee was at?

A.  Well, I was, I guess about, around fifty feet.

Q.   You could understand what was said?

A.   As far as I could understand.

Q.   From both?

A. Yes, from both; what part did I head? Then J. C. says to him, I haven’t did anything. Why you want me to get in the car?  Then I heard Mr. Lee say, “Get in the car.” And then James never did get in the car then Mr. Lee took out his black jack and started beating him over the head. Then I went back in the house. When I saw him beating him again, he had pushed J. C. up agin the car and went in as if he was reaching under the steering wheel and taken out a big over night stick club, and he began beating him over the head with it. And the officer still telling James to go in the car, and he was saying I haven’t did anything. And then I saw James had aholt of the stick – J. C. — and the officer was holding it too and J. C. grabbed the stick. Then Mr. Lee tried to wring the stick from J. C.’s hand, and J. C. still held on to the stick. Then, when I saw him go to his pocket for the gun in the holster, I ran to the door and axed him, “Please don’t do it.”

BY CULBERTSON: You asked this officer.

  1.  Yes, “Please don’t do it; I have a sick aunt in the house.” Whether he heard me or didn’t, I did not know. He did not look around. As the shooting began, I thought he was shooting in the ground. I went back into the house. That’s my story.

BY CULBERTSON: Did you …did this happen in Oconee County?

  1. Yes sir.

Q.   Do you know what the date was?

A.   The fourth of July.

Q.   This happened on the fourth of July? And about what time was it?

A.   Be just guessing, around 4:00 o’clock or after 4:00 o’clock.

CORONER: Anything else you observed there? I believe that you said J. C. had a hold of the stick. Was he trying to wring that stick out of his hands?

  1. I saw the officer trying to wring it out of J. C.’s hands. I saw J. C. grab the stick.

Q.   How come him to grab the stick, or could you tell?

A.   Just to keep from getting those locks on the head.

Q.   Did you see him hit the officer or do anything to him at all?

A.   I did not.

Q.   Did you hear J. C. say anything at all?

A.   No more than asking why did he want him to get in the car, he hadn’t done nothing. All I heard the officer say was, “Get in the car.”

Q.    Did you see J. C. before the officer got to him?

A.   No sir, no more than him walking up the bank down there and the officer turned down behind him.

Q.   You boys want to ask any questions? Did you observe anything else that you have not told us?

A.   No more than when he went down the road and come back, I heard him say, “I must have shot a little bit higher than I was intending.”

CORONER:    Do you know how many shots were fired?

  1. No sir.

Q.    While they were there, did they seem to be scuffling with each other?

A.    I didn’t see them pushing and shoving. James held on the stick and Mr. Lee trying to wring it from his hands.

Q.    Did James try to wring it?

A.  I didn’t see that.

BY MR. NINESTEIN:  Mr. Lee was the only officer down there?

  1. That’s right.

CORONER: Did James ever offer to get in the car after he told him?

  1. No sir.

BY MR. CULBERTSON: After J. C. was shot and the officer left, how long was it before the officer turned around and came back?

  1. Just to tell you the truth, I don’t know. He just went a little ways down and turned around and come back.

Q.   What was the statement made about shooting him?

A.    The officer called Larry Morris into the car and I heard him say, “I must have shot a littler higher than I was intending.”

Q.   Did you see J. C. up and about the telephone post on the back of the bank?

A.    That’s right.

Q.   Was he standing there when the officer stopped the car the first time?

A.    Yes, the first time.

Q.    Had J. C. done anything that you could see that would justify his being arrested?

A.    No sir.

Q.    Had J. C. asked the officer what he had done or had not done?

A.   Nothing.

Q.   Did the officer tell him why he wanted him to get in the car?

A.   No sir.

Q.   Did the officer show a warrant?

A.   He didn’t show it.

Q.    Did the officer show a badge?

A.   I didn’t see that.

Q.   Was the officer in uniform?

A.    Yes sir.

Q.    Did the officer have a pistol on him?

A.   Yes sir.

Q.    Did the automobile he was riding in have the police City of Seneca on the outside?

A.   No sir.  Only thing was….

Q.   Was it a police car?

A.    Yes sir.

Q.   Do you know the one?

A.   No sir, I don’t.

Q.   Did you or not see J. C. with the stick in his hand after he was shot?

A.   Yes sir, after he was laying on the ground.

Q.   Did you see him fall?

A.    No sir.

Q.    Did you ever see him standing on his feet with that night stick in just his hand?

A.    No sir.

Q.   Did you ever see J. C. advance on this officer with or without a stick?

A.   No sir.

Q.   Did J. C. do anything at that time to cause him to shoot him to save the officer’s life?

A.    No sir.

Q.   If J. C. had not held up his hand and grabbed that night stick, what would have been the result?

A.    I imagine he would a kept on beating him.

BY CORONER: Answer yes, or no.

BY MR. CULBERTSON:  You said it was an overnight club.

  1.   It was a stick with a strap or something on the end of it.

Q.    Where did the officer get that stick?

A.    Down in the front of his car.

Q.     All right, did he turn J. C. loose while he was doing that? How did he hold J.C.?

A.   He had a hold of J. C. under his belt and went in his car and come out with this club.

Q.   You are saying that at no time did he turn J. C. a loose until after he had shot him?     

A.    Only time I saw him after he shot him.

BY CORONER:  Did – I believe you said a while ago that Mr. Lee had the black jack first?

  1.    Yes.

Q.     What did he do with that black jack?

A.    He beat the man over the head with it.

Q.   Before he reach and got the night stick?

A.   He put it in his pocket.

BY MR. NINESTEIN:  At any time did Mr. Lee tell him to get in the car?

  1.  Several times I heard him.

Q.   J. C. never made any effort to get in the car. Your Aunt was sick there and you weren’t paying any attention until the police car pulled up?

A.   No sir.

Q.  You weren’t noticing whether James was staggering there or not?

A.   I saw from where the car stopped him the first time to where it stopped the last time,  and I did not see him staggering.

Q.   If J. C. had gotten in there wouldn’t have been any difficulty?

A.   No sir, I don’t reckon….

Q.   I didn’t ask you any reckon about it. If he had gotten in the car there wouldn’t have been. That’s all.

BY CORONER:  You fellows want to ask any questions?

BY MEMBER OF THE JURY: Did you actually see Mr. Lee a shooting?

  1.   I saw him when he made the first shot and I thought he was shooting in the ground.


BY CORONER:  That’s all.

NELSON HAWTHORNE, who first being duly sworn, testified as follows:

BY CORONER:  Who are you?

  1.  Nelson Hawthorne.

Q.   Did you see the shooting down there?

A.    I did.

Q.   Just go ahead and tell the jury just what you seen.

A.   On the fourth of July, I live in the same vicinity where it happened, I was crossing the corner where you turn the corner and J. C. James was walking down this bank.  The police came here, drove his car down the side of it there and they both get out about the same time. He gets out of his car, goes over to him and says…


                Q.    What did you say?

                A.   He says I ain’t got nothing.

                Q.   Said that “ain’t” the way you said it?

                A.   Then he shot (pat) him down.

BY CORONER:  Did he find anything?

  1.  Not a thing, he says, “Get in this car,” grabbed him up here by his shirt. He reached in the car at that time and come out with the black jack and started whipping him. and still refused and continued whipping him. After he whipped him, then he shoved him back to the car and holds him with one hand and put his black jack in his pocket and reaches in his car and said, “Get in the car” and hit him again and that time J. C. grabbed the stick and when he grabbed the stick he and the officer both had hold of the stick.  The officer reached in his holster and got his gun and come out with his gun and slapped him several times over the head with his gun, both still holding the stick, neither one had turned loose, and he never did get the stick from him, and by that time he began to shoot and he …and I thought he was shooting in the ground, and both still holding the stick. I counted three shots, that’s all I heard, could have been more, I counted three.  And after that last shot — didn’t shoot no more — I saw the dead man start trembling in his knees. The policeman turned the club loose and the dead man fell. I was standing about as  far from here to the back of the house. He told me to call an ambulance. I couldn’t get an ambulance, but they sent a car. Car come and he still had the stick grasped in his hand.

BY CORONER: When the ambulance got there, was James dead?

  1.  And when I walked up over to him and he was still holding the stick, he gasped three times, opened his mouth. In about ten seconds, this car rolled up and this fellow asked me to help put him in the car, and we picked him up and put him in the car. That’s all I know.

BY FOREMAN OF THE JURY:  Did you take the stick out of his hand?

  1.  I did not.

Q.    Did you smell any whisky?

A.  I did not.

BY CORONER:    You never seen him before the officer got to him the first time? 

The-only-time-the-word-nigger-is-used-in-the-hearing-it-was-stated-in-a-question-by-attorney-Culbertson-to-Officer-Lee SEE PAGE 28 OF TRANSCRIPT
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