Commissioner admits handing out racial flyers

Published: Apr. 23, 2012 at 4:38 PM CDT|Updated: Jul. 16, 2012 at 11:17 PM CDT
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Commission Chairman Charlie King speaks with WSFA 12 News.
Commission Chairman Charlie King speaks with WSFA 12 News.
Letterhead from campaign flyer
Letterhead from campaign flyer
Surveillance video showing Commissioner King leaving flyers on store counter.
Surveillance video showing Commissioner King leaving flyers on store counter.

HAYNEVILLE, AL (WSFA) - Politics in the Lowndes County town of Hayneville are getting ugly, according to residents who say someone is distributing racially charged flyers on the day before the runoff election for three county-wide races.

Residents are accusing County Commission Chairman Charlie King, Jr. of being the person who handed out the flyers, which are strongly political and use the "N" word as well as others.

Community activist Barbara Evans, surrounded by County Commission candidate Carnell McAlpine and his supporters and friends, called the flyers deplorable. Evans says she didn't write the material, didn't pass out the material and has nothing to do with the material. Yet, her face is on the flyer. "It portrays me as a klan leader," she said.

The note, a total of three paragraphs in length, uses the "N" word three times.

The document is titled: "The Fiery Cross Ballot" and has insignia indicating it's from the Loyal White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan and the Benton and Lowndesboro Tea Party Chapters.

In summation, it encourages voters how to vote in the three run-off elections in Lowndes County. The flyer demands voters get rid of Commissioner King, as well as Robert Harris and Marzett Thomas - calling the three "lazy" and insulting them with racial names. The flyer goes on to instruct voters to vote for Carnell McAlpine, Judge Adrian Johnson and Chip Brown so social programs are gotten rid of.

"The fact that a black, elected public official was responsible for the distribution of this flyer hurts me and my family deeply," Evans explained at a meeting.

"It's just bad for this county," King said when asked for comment, though he flatly denied any involvement - whether by writing or distributing - of the materials in an effort to cast his opponent in a negative light. He even called the act "despicable". "I had nothing to do with it."

Commissioner King's story was not exactly accurate, as a local gas station owner quickly proved. The station, located just off the courthouse square, has internal surveillance cameras, and they were rolling when Commissioner King walked through the front door with flyers in his hands. He left some inside the store before leaving.

When confronted with the video proof, Commissioner King admitted he did in fact put the flyers on the counter, but he says he did so with no intentions of hurting anyone, including his opponent, in Tuesday's runoff race.

"I passed them out to let the people know what's going on...that's all," the public servant said. King says he's filed a request for the U.S. Attorney General to investigate the matter.

Barbara Evans is seeking an investigation by the Alabama Attorney General's office and the Lowndes County District Attorney's office.

In the end, it's the voters who will have the final say about whether King's 28 years of public service on the commission will continue. Polls open Tuesday morning.

Copyright 2012  WSFA 12 News.  All rights reserved.