Civil rights group says cars vandalized before meeting - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Civil rights group says cars vandalized before meeting

CUTHBERT, GA (WTVM) -

A local civil rights group says someone harmed their vehicles and could have injured them they believe to prevent a new organization from standing up against racial prejudices.

In Cuthbert, before the first meeting of a new NAACP branch, several members found rusty nails stuck in their tires.

"The car sounded like it was a wagon or something.  It was just popping.  I looked down at my tires, and I had five nails in one tire and about three in the other tires," said Richie Earl Smith, the branch's president.

Smith and other members do not think this was just a coincidence, but that someone maliciously put the nails throughout the parking lot of their new meeting place in Randolph County.

"Whenever people come together, they gain power, and when you carry power, you can get things accomplished," said Smith.

About five cars were damaged including one belonging to Edward DuBose, the president for the Georgia State NAACP.

"We know that no fear is going to stop people from organizing and dealing with the issues that they are facing in the community," said DuBose.

He says the act could have turned deadly.

"I would have been on the road right now driving my car back to Columbus at about 65 mph, and the FBI told me that at 60 mph, tires with nails in them similar to those can explode," said DuBose.

Despite the scare, the group still held their first meeting on Tuesday talking about the challenges they are facing in this area.

"What we are here to do is to make things better for our children.  We have children that have to grow up.  We want the schools system.  We want the law enforcement.  We want everything to be equal.  That's all.  We want to be equal," said Smith.

To keep something like this from happening again, DuBose says they will be asking local law enforcement to act as security for their next meeting in March.

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