Political Feud Brewing - KAIT Jonesboro, AR - Region 8 News, weather, sports

Walnut Ridge, AR -- Brandi Hodges Reports

Political Feud Brewing

August 29, 2006 -- Posted at 5:15 p.m. CDT

WALNUT RIDGE, AR -- A feud between elected officials is brewing in Lawrence County.  At odds are State Representative J.R. Rogers and Mayor Glenn Murphy.

"I don't know if it's political or personal.  I have no idea, but I've had to hire an attorney just to handle all the things that have went on," said State Representative J.R. Rogers.

Rogers used to be the mayor of Walnut Ridge, he said the man who beat him in the last mayoral election is using that office to harass Rogers and his family.

Mayor Glenn Murphy wasn't available to speak with K8 News in person, but in a phone interview said:  "Mr. Rogers is being treated no differently than any other citizen of Walnut Ridge."

Rogers says the alleged harassment has been going on for four years.

"I didn't want it to come to this, but after the incident this past week, I felt like I had to do something to put a stop to it," said Rogers.

The mayor referred us to the city police chief.  Police Chief Tommy Blackburn said his officers aren't doing anything wrong.

"I know of once or twice that he's been pulled over, the last time because of a brake light out of a vehicle," said Blackburn.

"I had two different officers tell me that the mayor had instructed them to pull my vehicles over," said Rogers.

Rogers said the harassment doesn't end there, it extends to property and buildings he owns.  Accusations about one of his buildings led to a visit from the state health department.  They found the pigeons living inside weren't a health risk.

"I want the stuff to stop, that's my whole goal is for it to stop," said Rogers.

A side note, Rogers' wife Michelle is currently running for the office of mayor against incumbent Glenn Murphy and two other people.

She says her decision to run has nothing to do with the accusations of harassment. 

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