Police charge Zebulon man with ethnic intimidation

aspecht@newsobserver.com amoody@newsobserver.comMay 24, 2013 

— Police recently arrested a local man for allegedly berating a black man with racial slurs, then following him in his car and using a billy club to threaten him.

Richard Eugene Poole, 69, of 615 N. Sexton Ave., Zebulon was charged with ethnic intimidation, a misdemeanor, for his actions on May 18.

About 2 p.m. that day, Poole, who is white, initiated a verbal confrontation with 68-year-old Zebulon resident Bobby Jones, who was working on the house across from Poole’s, according to Zebulon police Chief Tim Hayworth.

When Jones left the house and began walking down the street, Poole got in his truck and followed him while yelling racial slurs, Hayworth said.

“At some point, Mr. Poole stops his truck, gets out, and confronts the victim with a billy club in his hand,” Hayworth said. “He threatened to do physical harm.”

Jones was not harmed, Hayworth said. Prior to arresting Poole on May 19, Zebulon police canvassed the area and spoke to a witness who corroborated Jones’ story, Hayworth said.

On Monday, Zebulon police executed a search warrant for Poole’s truck, where they found a billy club, Hayworth said.

“The suspect was cooperative. He willingly told us it was there,” Hayworth said.

This is the second ethnic intimidation charge issued by Zebulon police in two years.

Last March, Zebulon couple Anne Marie Mazur and Michael Stanley Mazur were charged for allegedly wearing novelty googly eyeglasses and calling one of their neighbors “frog-eyes” and “frogman” while hurling racial slurs at him. Two months later, police charged the Mazurs with intimidating a witness for placing video surveillance cameras in their yard to “constantly monitor” his movements and activity, according to the search warrant.

The ethnic intimidation charge against the Mazurs was later reduced to stalking, which they were recently convicted of and sentenced to one year of supervised probation, according to Hayworth.

The couple is still awaiting trial on a felony charge of intimidating a witness.

Specht: 919-829-4826

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