Man charged with defacing Surry County campaign signs with KKK symbols

SURRY Co., Va. - A man is now facing multiple charges following a pursuit in Surry County on Friday night.

Deputies say John R. Everett is now charged with defacing re-election campaign signs for Surry County Sheriff Carlos Turner with KKK symbols.

Around 8:54 p.m., a Surry County deputy found a pickup truck at the corner of Martin Luther King Highway and Colonial Trail West when he apparently saw Everett wearing gloves, walking away from campaign signs.

One of the campaign signs for Sheriff Turner had been vandalized with a KKK hood shaped symbol spray-painted on Turner's face.

Sheriff Turner approached the bed of the truck and that's when he found a spray paint can and a cut-out stencil matching the KKK symbol on the campaign sign.

Before deputies could arrive with backup, Everett sped off in his truck. A police pursuit then began down Martin Luther King Highway.

Everett lost control and crashed into a soybean field, deputies say. Everett was taken into custody.

Deputies say there were multiple Sheriff Turner re-election campaign signs vandalized in the Spring Grove area of Surry County.

He is charged with the following:

  • Felony elude law-enforcement officer
  • Felony possess ammunition for a firearm by convicted felony
  • Misdemeanor deface, damage election signs
  • Misdemeanor drive or operate a motor vehicle having a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08% or more
  • Misdemeanor refuses to have a sample of breath taken to determine the alcohol content of the blood

Sheriff Turner's opponent, R.M. "Rocky" Barbee took to social media after Everett's arrest. He released the following statement:

"Citizens of Surry County,

It has come to my attention that there was an incident last night involving the vandalization of Sheriff Turner’s campaign signs. Let me say how disappointed I was to hear that this took place and I applaud Sheriff Turner’s quick thinking and actions to apprehend the vandal. I am relieved to hear that no one was hurt during this incident and extend my sincere congratulations to Sheriff Turner and the Surry Sheriff’s Department for a job well done.

That being said, I would like to go on record and state my opinions and beliefs on the events that have transpired.

First, I do not condone or support any actions of this individual. The man in question has committed acts that reflect radical beliefs. He is a criminal and is being treated as such. He is in no way a representation of me or my beliefs. He is no way affiliated with my campaign or anyone associated with it. I am personally disappointed that he felt the need to vandalize any signs in this county. These signs represent democracry. They represent your choice in this election and the sacred values of the first ammendment. When he decided to violate that, he was charged and will face his day in court. Again I applaud Sheriff Turner for his quick action and hope that if something of this nature happens again to any other signs, the sheriff and his office will continue to pursue it.
Second, I am aware that accusations have been thrown towards me in relationship to this incident. Trying to lump the actions of a man such as this with me and/or my campaign is unjustified, unnecessary, and unfounded. I hope that we as a community can come together, on both sides of the aisle, and realize that these are the actions of an unstable person. The defendant will have his day in court, because that is how our democratic system works. I trust that the system will do what it was created to do and punish him to the full extent of the law.
Lastly, I want to continue my campaign by focusing on the positives aspects of Surry County, not the negative. We should come together in a matter such as this and raise our voices to condemn these actions. This is not the time to tear each other down and divide our county. This is an opportunity to learn how a civilized society should behave.

Thank you all for your time. If you have any questions on my stance on this issue, please feel free to contact me. Have a blessed day."

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