Possible hate crime investigated

July 09, 2004|By Gus G. Sentementes | Gus G. Sentementes,SUN STAFF

Howard County police are investigating a possible hate crime after the shape of a cross was formed into the grass of a top education official who was recently cleared of allegations that she abused her power by seeking preferential treatment for her daughter.

At a news conference at police headquarters yesterday, Howard police and the county chapter of the NAACP denounced the vandalism at the Ellicott City home of Kimberly Statham. Police offered a $2,500 reward for information leading to an arrest and indictment.

"We will do everything in our power to resolve this as quickly as possible," Police Chief G. Wayne Livesay said. "This is the first hate crime [in Howard County] I can recall in many, many years."

Jenkins Odoms Jr., president of the county branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, said the county's image has been hurt by "the actions of a few individuals filled with hate and bias."

"I was hoping that in the year 2004, we were beyond this," Odoms said. "We thought Howard County was beyond anything of this nature. We figured this is one of the better counties in the state to live in."

Statham's husband, Michael V. Statham, discovered the vandalism Wednesday afternoon.

Sun staff writer Tricia Bishop contributed to this article.

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