Polk County family threatened with racial slur
TURTLETOWN, TN (WRCB) -- A racial message, containing the "N" word was attached to a block thrown through a Polk County home.
Ellis Witherspoon, who is African-American lives here with his wife Jennifer who is Caucasian, and their three-year-old son.
Thursday, plastic lines the window after Polk County detectives say someone threw a piece of cinderblock through it Monday, with a racial statement containing the "N-word." In part, it said: "Get out of town or you die," signed the "KKK".
Lee Garrett has lived in Polk County his entire life and next door to the Witherspoons for 3 months.
He welcomed the family with open arms since they first met and says he is shocked this happened.
"I old him if anything like that happened again to come over here and I'll take care of him," says Garrett.
The Polk County Sheriff's Office report doesn't classify this a hate crime, but rather vandalism.
Under the "motivation" section, the police report says "none" instead of the "anti-black" option that is available on the report.
Garrett says Ellis just visited church with him Sunday before the incident and says he's been one of the best neighbors he's had.
He is concerned if nothing is done, the Witherspoons may leave.
"I think that is for God to judge anything like that," says Garrett. "We are not to judge people."
There is no hate crime law in Tennessee that makes it illegal to commit a crime based on race, religion or sexuality.
Tennessee does have a Civil Rights Intimidation Law, that can be used against anyone who keeps a person from exercising their rights guaranteed by the state constitution.