Thursday, August 25, 2011
Political antics under investigation
Racial slurs left on the driveway at the home of Marshall County Supervisor George Zinn III may have been intended to influence voter sentiment in the runup to the primary runoffs this week.
Zinn said the slurs were spray painted overnight Friday in lettering about a foot in height. His wife noticed the remarks on the garage apron in front of the garage door and called him while he was attending U.S. Rep. Alan Nunnelee’s town hall meeting, he said. He had left the house Saturday morning to go to the meeting and did not notice the writing on the pavement, he said.
Because of the language used, Zinn said he believes it may have been motivated by his friendship and associations with candidates in the runoff races.
A Memphis Channel 3 News crew came out and filmed the area and interviewed the Zinns, he said.
“I think some people did not appreciate my friendship and support of candidates in the runoff election,” he said.
Zinn believes the slurs were an effort to express resentment and to deter him from associating with other candidates. He won his primary election on the first ballot against a single opponent with 79 percent of the vote.
Zinn said he thinks the matter is a hate crime intended to make him feel negative toward white supporters.
“It did not work,” he said. “I clearly know I have a lot of good and loyal white supporters, because I govern evenly across the board. I represent all of my constituents, no matter of race and no matter of whether the person voted for me or not. I certainly thank all my supporters.”
Zinn also likened the act to terrorism.
“We hear of terrorism and we always associate it with the Middle East, with the Taliban and al Qaeda,” he said. “But I do want the reading audience to know that terrorism exists right here and this is a perfect example of it. These perpetrators must be brought to justice if there is any hope of curbing these kinds of actions in the wonderful county of Marshall.”
He said his wife was very distraught when she saw the language.
“We felt like we needed to take measures to protect ourselves,” he said. “It’s almost a must. Anytime a person comes 150 yards on a property to perpetrate this crime, it warrants being concerned about it.”
Zinn said his house is well lighted at night with street lamps.
That incident and one reported on the opening night of high school football season Friday are being investigated by the Marshall County Sheriff’s Department, according to Sherifff Kenny Dickerson.
He said a flier was circulating on a school campus Friday night making unsavory allegations against a candidate in a runoff race.
A reward is offered for information leading to the arrest and conviction of person(s) responsible for either of these incidents, according to Dickerson.
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