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Sen. Sanders holds state capitol press conference

Sen. Hank Sanders, D-Dallas, held a press conference on Wednesday at the Alabama State House in Montgomery pertaining to the Monday arrest of his wife, Faya Rose Toure, who was charged with fourth-degree theft and eluding police after allegedly stealing probate judge campaign signs from what Selma Police Department Chief Spencer Collier said was private property.

“This is a personal and painful moment for me,” said Hank. “It is also a senatorial and legal moment as well. My wife, Faya Rose Toure, is also my constituent and she also is my client. This is really all about the Probate Judge election in Dallas County. Dallas County is 70 percent black and 27 percent white. There are seven state county-wide positions, and only one of them is held by an African American.

“That is because all kinds of tactics have been used over the years to prevent a majority from electing persons to county-wide office, and this race was so important because it represented a moment whether we would keep having problems or start a new history.”

Probate Judge-elect Jimmy Nunn defeated Nicholas Switzer on Tuesday night in a run-off election.

“I’m so glad that in the end a new history was started,” said Hank.

Hank recounted the events that led up to Rose’s arrest.

Hank said when the police officers stopped her, they left the couple’s 11-year-old grandchild alone while they transported Rose to jail.

Hank said also that several weeks ago, Rose began receiving death threats at the couple’s law office and at their radio station’s office.

“She called the police and gave the number of the person, but she never heard anything back, but now with the sign, they have nine police officers out to arrest a 73-year-old woman,” said Hank.

Gus Townes, a friend of the couple also spoke at the press conference

“Everytime you look around you see black folks getting arrested for nothing,” he said. “I have known Rose for over 40 years, and ever since I’ve known here, everything she has done has been to help not only blacks but people who are very unfortunate. I think it is time to rise up and stop this nonsense from going on.”

Karen Jones, a representative of the Saving Ourselves (SOS) group and the Poor People’s Campaign in Montgomery County also spoke.

“It goes to show that even in Selma where the movement started, the remnant still remains that we haven’t come far enough,” she said. “It is such a disgusting disgrace that has happened to her, and I hope that all Alabamians join in to support Rose and others who were disenfranchised yesterday (Monday).”

Martha Morgan, a member of the steering committee for SOS also spoke about the arrest of Rose.

“I think to charge her with eluding police is just outrageous,” she said. “The statute itself recognizes you can proceed to a reasonable place. This wasn’t a high-speed police chase where she was trying to get away. I think it is ridiculous. I think it was an attempt to punish her for her activities in supporting voting rights.”

Rebecca Marion, a member of SOS, said that she has known Rose for years.

“I have never known her to even utter anything that would break the law,” she said. “There’s two victims here and one of them is her 11-year-old grandchild. We cannot stand for this to continue. There is too many things happening by the people that are sworn to protect us. They are not protecting us.”

Johnny Ford, the founder of the World Conference of Mayors said he supported Rose because “she is a proud African American woman.”

“We have to stand up for each other especially when the police use their power to punish,” he said. “We must stand up and speak out for our women and our children. How can you look at our just system as fair?”

He compared the release of Nelson Mandela to the eventual release of Rose.

During questioning, Hank was asked if there were any times before she was caught that Rose took campaign signs. Hank said there were, and that Rose did not try to hide the fact that she had committed this crime.

According to the Dallas County Jail, Rose posted bail at noon on Wednesday.