Poll watcher claims unlawful act led to assault

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Demopolis Times Writer

Carl Crocker, a Perry County resident who was allegedly struck by a car driven by Albert Turner Jr. on election day, has claimed he witnessed and photographed unlawful acts at the old National Guard Armory in Perry County during the recent primary election.

“I was there working as a poll watcher,” Crocker said.

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Turner could face a second degree assault charge, according to Marion Police Chief Jack Nelson.

Crocker, a freelance photographer, made direct allegations against political candidates Turner and James Hollis, claiming they were campaigning inside the restricted area at the voting poll, and were committing other restricted acts throughout the course of the day.

Crocker claims the photographs that he took prove his allegations are true. “I have pictures of them passing out ballots,” Crocker said. “I made a complaint to the deputy. He said it was out of his hands and I would have to contact the chief of police.”

In a previous report, Turner stated that he was helping voters in and out of the building at the armory that day, and that Crocker was taking photographs of him as he was walking out to his vehicle with a voter. Turner denied the validity of claims Crocker had made and stated that Crocker had been shouting and behaving in a disorderly manner in the parking lot.

The photographer said that he contacted the authorities after speaking to the deputy.

“The attorney general’s office told me I wasn’t doing anything wrong,” Crocker said.

Then, Crocker said that he was told to refrain from taking pictures, and that the accused – Turner and Hollis – threatened to have him detained if he continued to photograph others.

“They threatened to have me arrested if I kept taking pictures,” Crocker said.

Crocker also said that Turner threatened physical harm if he continued to take photographs.

“He said if I took his picture he was going to break my camera and my neck,” Crocker said. “People are afraid of him.”

The photographer also claims that he witnessed Turner commit physical acts of violence against another. “He started kicking this lady that looked like she was in her early seventies,” Crocker said.

Crocker also said that Hollis made threats if he continued to take photographs of others at the voting poll that day.

“He said that if I didn’t quit taking pictures, that he had people that would make sure I did,” Crocker said.