Postcard Controversy Plagues Sheriff Race

By Jacob E. Rosenbaum

Last week, a postcard of questionable origin was delivered to several Fentress County addresses associating Sheriff Michael “Bigfoot” Reagon with an alleged rape that was committed in Pickett County in 1993. The postcard does not say that Mr. Reagon was accused of the alleged crime, but merely states that he was the arresting officer of the inmate who made the allegation. The postcard also indicates that Pickett County paid $150,000 to settle resulting lawsuit in federal court, although the minutes from the Pickett County Commission indicate that the amount was substantially less.

There was indeed an allegation of rape in 1993 that involved a female inmate of the Pickett County Jail that resulted in a federal lawsuit which was settled in November of 1994. Michael Reagon is not listed as a defendant in the lawsuit, but merely as the arresting officer of the inmate, whom he arrested for Public Drunkenness.

The postcard itself states that it is from “The Concerned Citizens of Pickett County.” However, inquiries conducted by local individuals have found that there is in fact no such group, or at least no such registered political action group operating under that name.

The controversy that surrounds this postcard is multi-tiered. Not only does the card attempt to associate Reagon with a crime that he was not accused of, it also comes from an anonymous source, which is illegal under state law.

Political Action Committees must register with the State Election commission (TCA 2-10-105) and must place on any distributed campaign literature opposing a candidate a disclaimer informing the recipients of the origin (by name) of said campaign literature (TCA 2-9-120) It is also illegal to  knowingly circulate false information about candidates for public office. (TCA 2-19-142.

Read the rest of the story in this weeks Fentress Courier.