- The Washington Times - Tuesday, March 5, 2019

The mayor of a small town in South Carolina remains adamant that she was targeted in a hate crime despite police determining that the yellow substance found all over the car was pollen.

Darnell Byrd McPherson, the mayor of Lamar, told Newsweek that she filed a police report on Feb. 7 claiming that a “yellow, sticky substance” had been found all over her’s and her husband’s cars.

“I likened it as a hate crime because No. 1, there’s a history in our town of Lamar,” she said.

In a statement to a local ABC affiliate, Ms. McPherson claimed that during the 1970s, “crosses were burned in the yard of our home when my Mother was involved with the civil rights movement. On this very same corner in this very same front yard!”

Ms. McPherson complained that police never took a sample of the substance on their cars before they were cleaned the next day.

“The substance wasn’t saved and the cars were actually cleaned — pressure-washed twice — there was no substance, and so they didn’t have it for the investigation,” the mayor told Newsweek.

“It’s something,” she said. “Something that’s sticky that’s stuck to my car and took two different solutions to get it off.”

Darlington County Sheriff’s Office Lieutenant Robby Kilgo told Newsweek that the substance was determined to be pollen.

“We found it to be pollen,” he said. “There was no reason for us to collect a sample.”

Ms. McPherson insisted that the incident was some form of targeted vandalism and had “a possible suspect in mind at the time,” so police then referred the case to the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division, or SLED, Lt. Kilgo said.

A SLED spokeswoman told Newsweek that an investigation was not subsequently launched “because we did not believe a crime occurred.”

“We reviewed the incident report, but we did not open a formal investigation,” SLED said.

In her statement, Ms. McPherson acknowledged that the substance looked like pollen but said others told her it looked like spray paint.

“Again, we are grateful the person or persons did not try to take our lives but the culprits will be identified and prosecuted,” she said. “Love conquers hate and my husband and I refuse to be intimidated by those who perpetrated this act of vandalism which I classify as an act of hatred.”

Ms. McPherson told Newsweek that she’s worried about the “remnants of racism” plaguing Lamar.

“What do we need to do in Lamar? I say, we need to come together,” she said.

• Jessica Chasmar can be reached at jchasmar@washingtontimes.com.

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