Rocky Mount man arrested for putting up sign reading, ‘Got Rope?’

ROCKY MOUNT, Va. (WSLS 10) – A Rocky Mount man, who will be sentenced next week for hanging a noose in his front yard, is back in jail for another public racial display.

According to the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office, 52-year-old Jack Turner was arrested Tuesday for putting up a cardboard sign in his yard that used derogatory words to intimidate others.

TurnerMug
Jack Turner (Franklin County Sheriff’s Office).

Back in September, Turner was convicted of violating Virginia State Code § 18.2-423.2: Displaying a noose on property of another or a highway or other public place with intent to intimidate. The charge came after Turner hung a noose in his front yard. The judge said it was an attempt to intimidate his neighbor.

Turner was allowed to remain free on bond with the condition of good behavior.

While WSLS 10 was not able to get a picture of the sign, the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office told us the message used a derogatory statement referring to African Americans and stating their lives don’t matter. The sign also said quote, “got rope?”

“Certainly, the derogatory type statement that was written was offensive to those folks as it should be,” said Paul Caldwell, a captain at the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office. “And, certainly it scares them because you don’t know if this day and age what might happen or what could lead to something happening.”

Neighbors along Lindsey Lane saw the sign and called the sheriff’s office. Neighbors we talked to didn’t want to speak on camera. Many said they were scared for their safety and their families’ safety because, this isn’t the first time turner’s made a racial statement on his property.

Turner’s attorney, Holland Perdue, said the first crime of hanging a noose could land him up to five years in prison. This second crime could affect his sentencing for the first incident.

“It will be looked at by the court,” said Perdue. “I would much rather have him not have done that because, if they were to find a crime on the books that they can use then, if he was charged it could be court again.”

Perdue argues Turner is protected by the first amendment freedom of speech. However, the sheriff’s office said this was an act of intimidation.

“We definitely don’t want our county to be known or anybody’s locality to be known for something like that,” said Caldwell.

Turner’s sentencing for his first crime is December 8.

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