*It’s not easy being controversial in a small town. But its surprising and courageous when you are. Though one newspaper is learning this the hard way. The Chester County Independent, a print newspaper that has been covering the Chester and Henderson counties in Tennessee for the past 149 years, according to its website, is getting a lot of attention.
But unfortunately, its not the kind they like.
A controversial political cartoon, posted in the Opinion section, depicts tombstones in a graveyard with reasons why the deceased were killed by cops. Some of these reasons include “No front license,” and “Left tailgate out,” among others. The town is livid about the piece and District Attorney General Jerry Woodall claims the cartoon “depicts law enforcement as executioners of innocent people.”
In a report by WBBJ7 Eyewitness News, Woodall has sent a letter to the Editor-in-Chief of the Chester County Independent, requesting that the newspaper issue an apology to every city, county, state and federal law enforcement officer who puts their life at risk everyday.
Heavy criticism is also coming from residents of the small town, and the TV station admits that although they have spoken to many of them, they can’t find anyone who sides with the newspaper on this.
“Makes me feel like people are after our cops. They want to complain because they kill too many black people. They complain because they do this, they do that,” says resident Merle Little.
While another woman, Angie Hysmith, agrees, “It’s really bothersome to me to be honest. These guys go out every day and put their lives on the line for you and me and everybody else,” adding, “I just think it’s in poor taste. I hope it’s an oversight on the newspaper’s part.”
Well that may certainly be the case, Ms. Hysmith.
ThisNthat spoke to James Webb, the Editor-in-Chief of the Chester County Independent, who says the paper does plan to offer an apology for the illustration. “This is a small community, and the intent was not to offend anyone,” Webb offered about the opinion piece written by a female staffer. Webb admits he did not even intend to publish the piece originally; but with other responsibilities in front of him, it simply got by him.
Webb plans to publish the apology in the paper on Thursday.
A letter Woodall sent to the editor reads in part, “These tombstones carry epitaphs which unfairly and in an inflammatory manner depict law enforcement officers.”
See the full letter here.
THANK YOU! EURweb and EURThisNthat wishes to thank our loyal reader, James Cherry, for alerting us to this story.