Slur painted on election sign

August 23, 2006|By LAURA MCCANDLISH | LAURA MCCANDLISH,SUN REPORTER

A campaign sign for Carroll County's first black commissioner -- posted along a road between Taylorsville and Mount Airy -- was spray-painted with a racial slur, the Carroll County Sheriff's Office said yesterday.

Incumbent Commissioner Perry L. Jones Jr., the only black candidate in the commissioner race this fall, told police about the vandalized sign Monday. The 4-foot by 8-foot plywood sign, near Route 27 and Roop Road, was defaced Aug. 13 or 14, police said.

Jones planned to replace the sign and "keep it low-key." But he said residents encouraged him to report the incident as a hate crime.

"When I was first told, I was shocked that something like this would happen," said Jones, the former mayor of Union Bridge. "It's never happened to me before, and I've been campaigning since 1981. I don't think we'll ever be able to find out who did it. It's just one of those unfortunate things."

Blacks make up just under 3 percent of the population in Carroll County, which is 95 percent white, according to recent U.S. Census estimates. Carroll has had occasional Ku Klux Klan activity in the past but members generally remain quiet and out of sight, Jones said.

The incident is being investigated as a hate crime, as defined by state law, police said. Anyone arrested for such a crime faces up to three years imprisonment and/or $5,000 in fines, said Sgt. Phil Kasten of the sheriff's office.

Another campaign sign, vandalized in Eldersburg on Aug. 2, was reported to the sheriff's office, Kasten said. Sexual slurs were written on a sign for incumbent Del. Susan W. Krebs, along Route 32 and Progress Way, he said.

"It's very disgusting," Krebs said. "What happened to Perry is an embarrassment to our whole county. That's not what our county is."

Krebs said about 100 of her campaign signs have been uprooted or tampered with.

Anyone with information on either incident should contact Deputy 1st Class Rick Wolfe at 410-386-2900 or the sheriff's office anonymous tip line, at 1-888-399-TIPP (8477).

laura.mccandlish@baltsun.com

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