Couple arrested in connection with racial intimidation - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Couple arrested in connection with racial intimidation

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TURTLETOWN, POLK COUNTY (WRCB) – Police have arrested two family members of an interracial couple in Polk County have been arrested on charges of intimidation.

Ellis Witherspoon, who is African-American, and his wife Jennifer, who is Caucasian, say they have been repeatedly harassed since moving into their trailer home three months ago.

Two weeks ago Witherspoon reported a cinderblock had been thrown through his window, with a note that read "Get out of town or you die – KKK".

Now, deputies have arrested Jonathan and Janet Smith, Witherspoon's in-laws, on charges of aggravated assault in connection with the case. Jonathan Smith also faces charges of Civil Rights Intimidation.

A report says Jonathan smith told Ellis several times he needed to leave his home and used the racial slur the n-word.

Jonathan is Jennifer Witherspoon's Brother in-law.

Neighbor, Patricia Day said she can't believe a family quarrel has come down to this.

"They seem like nice people, but it doesn't matter if they are sister in law or brother in law, they should not be mean to each other."

Friday June 24th, Ellis was confronted by the Smiths.

The report says Janet threw rocks at Ellis and Jonathan had a .38 pistol with him.

Ellis told police Smith showed him the gun during the threats. 

Deputies tell us Jonathan doesn't have a gun permit.

Once deputies arrived, they also learned Jonathan was carrying a knife in his pocket.

The Smith's were arrested and charged with aggravated assault because of the rock throwing.

Jonathan faces a more serious charge of civil rights intimidation because of the verbal threats using a racial slur.

The smith's have not been charged in the cinderblock incident, but the f-b-i is looking into that case.

Jonathan Smith is also facing gun charges.

The couple has bonded out of jail.

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