The wife in a biracial couple has admitted that she spray-painted racial epithets in their home
Lawrence Latané III:
The wife in a biracial couple told police yesterday that she spray-painted racial epithets in their King and Queen County home, Sheriff E.C. Walton said yesterday.
Walton declined to reveal exactly what Carla Lewis told authorities. He said it has not been determined whether a charge of filing a false police report will be placed against her. The charge would be a misdemeanor, he said.
Lewis' claim that she returned home Oct. 3 to find racial slurs and references to the Ku Klux Klan painted in her house cast a pall over the rural county that unsuccessfully tried to block a Klan rally in 1993. About 33 percent of the county's 6,800 residents are black.
Her report prompted King Salim Khalfani, executive director of the state branch of the NAACP, to urge the FBI and state police to take over the investigation because, he said, he did not think the local sheriff's department would take the charge seriously and pursue it as a hate crime.
An NAACP spokesperson could not be reached for comment yesterday.
Yesterday, Walton said his investigators began suspecting Lewis' story after they first interviewed her. He said she revealed what happened while being interviewed by state police officers and sheriff's deputies yesterday.
Lewis, 27, who is white and six months pregnant, lives in the community of Mattaponi with her husband, Samuel, 29, who is black.
The couple have a 3-year-old daughter and 5-year-old son. The walls of the children's rooms had been painted with slurs, as were hallway walls, closet doors, another bedroom door and a washing machine. Photos of the couple and their children were placed facedown on the floor.
Walton said he was surprised and relieved by Lewis' admission.
"I'd hate to think we had someone [at large] doing this," he said. "King and Queen is small and beautiful, and we just don't have any racial problems. I'm sorry that something like this took place in the county."
A spokeswoman for the Richmond office of the FBI said yesterday that the office had not begun an investigation, preferring to wait for a request from the state police.
Walton said the matter is still under investigation.
In February, Powhatan County authorities concluded that racial graffiti painted on a family's house was the work of a family member. A couple and an adult son renting the house in the 2700 block of Ballsville Road had discovered an anti-black slur and phrase, "white power," on Feb. 3.
The sheriff's office and FBI agents later concluded it was "an act of vandalism by a family member."
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