County of­fi­cials get an­gry re­ac­tion about han­dling of the Vick case

Vick let­ters and e-mails con­tinue to pile up

The Covington News - - SPORTS - By Sonja Barisic

SURRY, Va. — Gail P. Clay­ton was talk­ing to yet an­other re­porter about the Michael Vick dog­fight­ing case when a co-worker handed her a let­ter that had just ar­rived at the Surry County court­house.

“Blacks — no mat­ter how much money and ed­u­ca­tion will al­ways be of a jun­gle race!” read the hand­writ­ten, un­signed let­ter, post­marked Rich­mond and ad­dressed to court­house “Man­agers.”

“Why dont the White Race in Surry take back their town from the ones that cant act civ­i­lized and obey the White laws as we do?” the let­ter con­tin­ued.

The mis­sive was the latest bit of un­wel­come at­ten­tion — from an­gry call­ers and writ­ers, as well as from scores of re­porters — thrust upon this rural county of 7,000 be­cause of al­le­ga­tions of dog­fight­ing at a home the At­lanta Fal­cons quar­ter­back owns here. Vick is from New­port News, a city about 35 miles east of Surry.

The let­ter shocked Clay­ton, the county Cir­cuit Court clerk. She’s re­ceived about a dozen e-mails and calls about the case, mostly from strangers ac­cus­ing county au­thor­i­ties of act­ing too slowly be­cause they have not charged Vick, who faces a Nov. 26 trial on fed­eral dog­fight­ing charges.

But the let­ter that ar­rived Thurs­day “crossed the line” with its racism, she said.

“I feel the let­ter had to be from some­one who had knowl­edge of me be­ing a black clerk in this of­fice,” Clay­ton said. Surry County Sher­iff Harold D. Brown and pros­e­cu­tor Ger­ald G. Poin­dex­ter also are black, as is Vick.

“Whoever this (writer) is, I’m not plan­ning on go­ing any- where,” Clay­ton said.

The case be­gan in late April, when a drug raid at Vick’s prop­erty turned up ev­i­dence of dog­fight­ing. With a sec­ond search war­rant, county au­thor­i­ties con­fis­cated 66 dogs and equip­ment typ­i­cally as­so­ci­ated with a dog­fight­ing op­er­a­tion.

In May, county au­thor­i­ties se­cured a third search war­rant for the prop­erty af­ter an in­for­mant said up to 30 dogs were buried there. The search war­rant never was ex­e­cuted be­cause Poin­dex­ter didn’t like the way it was worded. Ear­lier in his ca­reer, Poin­dex­ter has said he had an­other dog­fight­ing case dis­missed be­cause of an il­le­gal search.

“You should all be ashamed of your­selves,” one correspondent wrote in an e-mail on May 30 to Clay­ton, Brown and Poin­dex­ter.

Brown said he’s re­ceived one or two calls about the case and more than 30 e-mails, from as far as Aus­tralia. About half the emails have been neg­a­tive, he said.

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