Constable candidate says he was harassed by incumbent in race for Precinct 7

May 25, 2012 4:37:20 PM PDT
We see it just about every election; disputes over campaign signs. But now one candidate on the ballot is accusing a local constable of crossing the line, saying he was threatened and harassed by one of her deputies over the placement of a sign.

Campaign signs spring up at every early voting location, but on May 15, when Sam Hayes, a candidate for Precinct 7 constable, tried to put up a sign next to incumbent May Walker's sign, problems developed.

"Is this an issue because I have my sign next to May Walker?" Hayes asked the man.

"Who are you?" the man asked, turning his attention to our camera, which was rolling on the confrontation.

"Channel 13," we told him.

"Tell you what," he said. "Why don't you get that camera out of my face?"

The man dressed in plain clothes, according to Hayes, actually works for Constable Walker.

"Her sergeant came out here in plain clothes, misrepresented himself, saying he's someone he's not, said he's property manager, strong-armed me about moving my signs," said Hayes.

Just three days later, the same man, this time dressed in a constable's uniform, confronted Hayes again. Captured on cell phone video, the man issued Hayes a trespassing affidavit for campaigning at Palm Center, something candidates do daily.

Hayes complained, first to the County Attorney's office, who then turned the issue over to the District Attorney's Office. That investigation prompted Walker to send out an email, telling her staff not to arrest Hayes.

We tried talking to Walker on Friday, but she didn't want to chat.

"Don't talk to me," she said. "I have not been a part of none of that."

"Did you send an email telling your deputies not to?" we asked.

"Yes, I have made an agreement with county attorney and his attorney," said Walker.

Constable Walker then asked us to leave her office located in the same Palm Center, where outside, Hayes continued his campaign

"That's horrible, that's real bad," said Hayes. "All I'm trying to do is run an honest campaign."

Since the incident surfaced, all the campaign signs have been moved off the Palm Center property. Now they're on the public right-of-way, along the roads.

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