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Smyrna/Clayton Sun-Times
  • Residents voice concerns over Lincoln Street violence to Smyrna Council

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  • Smyrna Town Council members heard from concerned residents at the council meeting Monday night regarding violence on Lincoln Street.
    Sharon and Lincoln Huntoon approached council during public forum to voice their frustrations with racially charged violence towards them by their neighbors on Lincoln Street; furthermore, Sharon Huntoon said officers in the Smyrna Police Department aren't always helpful with the situation.
    "We purchased our home in Smyrna and I wish we could say we were greeted with welcome arms but that has not been the case," Huntoon said.
    She said their family has several other family members in the area and thought they were moving to a nice, safe town. But over one year later, the Huntoons have been the victims of violence from other residents on Lincoln Street. She also said her family has been racially discriminated against by members of the Smyrna Police Department.
    When Councilman Robert Johnson asked for specific examples of violence against the family, Huntoon listed several incidents involving neighbors. The brake lines on their cars were cut and tires were slashed. Beer bottles have been thrown at the house. She said family members have to hold kitchen knives as a safety measure when walking out to the car. There have also been threats of physical harm to the family by some neighbors.
    Huntoon said when police were called either the Huntoons were called racist, were told the suspect couldn't be found or a police report couldn't be filed. Some officers have been helpful but for the most part the family lives their life in terror.
    Mayor Joanne Masten suggested the Huntoon family meet with herself, Police Chief Wil Bordley and Vice Mayor Regina Brown to discuss the issues.
    Councilwoman Valerie White apologized to the Huntoons for their experience so far in town; having raised her children in Smyrna, White said she's always felt like it was a safe town.
    "I feel like we live in a very safe community. This is a nice little town. I hope you get over whatever hump this is and I think you'll be happy," White said.
    Huntoon said they may be partially to blame because they didn't research the neighborhood to see if it was nonviolent. The house was a good price and looked safe enough during the day; however, the problems start at night.
    In the past she's contacted other state officials regarding the problem but was told to talk with Smyrna Town Council members. By coming to the council meeting, she was hoping to raise public awareness regarding the violence on Lincoln Street.
    After the meeting, Bordley said he was unaware of the details of these issues on Lincoln Street but would look into the matter prior to their meeting.
    Page 2 of 2 - Resident Cindy Cogar spoke in support of the meeting with the Huntoons and the town. Cogar said she feels safe walking around town and was unaware of issues with violence elsewhere in the community.
    "I would like to see a solution and see the perpetrators against these people experience some consequences. This is unacceptable behavior," Cogar said. "I'm saddened by this story. It's a dreadful story for someone to experience. I wish there was something I could do to make your move to Smyrna better."
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