Tennessee poll worker fired for allegedly turning away voters with BLM clothing: reports

A Tennessee poll worker was fired on Friday after allegedly turning away voters who were wearing clothing related to the Black Lives Matter movement, according to officials.

The worker was let go after a witness at the Dave Wells Community Center in North Memphis, Tenn., reported the incident to officials, according to Suzanne Thompson, a spokesperson for the Shelby County Election Commission.

Thompson said officials were told by an operations manager that the message on the clothing was “Black Lives Matter,” while State Rep. Antonio Parkinson said on his Facebook page that shirts or masks read, “I Can’t Breathe,” reports said.

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Voters wait on line at the Pursuit of God Church, Wednesday, Oct. 14, 2020, in Memphis, Tenn., on the first day of Tennessee's early voting. (Patrick Lantrip/Daily Memphian via AP)

Voters wait on line at the Pursuit of God Church, Wednesday, Oct. 14, 2020, in Memphis, Tenn., on the first day of Tennessee’s early voting. (Patrick Lantrip/Daily Memphian via AP)

“That was pretty bad,” Thompson said. “They were not supposed to be turned away.”

While Tennessee law doesn’t allow voters at the polls to wear items with showcase the name of a candidate or political party, Thompson said the policy wouldn’t have applied because Black Lives Matter is not political, Memphis’s WREG-TV reported.

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“He was given very clear instructions. He was given clear instructions the next day, and again didn’t pay attention to them. So he was terminated,” said Elections Administrator Linda Phillips, according to the station.

Thomas added that only a few people were told to leave. 

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Early voter turnout ahead of the Nov. 3 election has been strong in Memphis and throughout Tennessee. Early voting ends Oct. 29 in the state. 

The Associated Press contributed to this report

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Fall River police seeking women who allegedly assaulted President Trump supporter

Fall River police released a surveillance camera image of a gray Nissan Altima whose occupants allegedly assaulted a woman whose car was adorned with flags that said, “Trump.”
Fall River police released a surveillance camera image of a gray Nissan Altima whose occupants allegedly assaulted a woman whose car was adorned with flags that said, “Trump.”Fall River Police Department

Fall River police are looking for two women who allegedly got into a vulgar confrontation and punched a third woman for showing support for President Trump last week, according to a statement posted Thursday on Facebook.

Several people placed 911 calls to police on Oct. 8, after two women who were in a gray Nissan Altima allegedly confronted a driver whose vehicle was adorned with flags that said “Trump,” police said.

Two women inside the Nissan verbally confronted the driver of the vehicle displaying “Trump” flags as she was driving near 1450 South Main St., Lieutenant Jay D. Huard, a Fall River police spokesman, said in a statement Thursday night.

The three women exchanged vulgarities, and then both drivers pulled their vehicles over, Huard said.

The women in the Nissan got out and approached the other vehicle and punched the driver, he said.

“At some point, she was trying to attempt to de-escalate the situation by telling the two females to get away from her car,” Huard said in an interview with WHDH-TV. “She put her window down, I guess to communicate in a better fashion, and at that point she was punched through the open window.”

An investigation is ongoing.

Fall River police ask that any witnesses or others who have information about the incident contact Detective Luis Vertentes at 508-324-2796. Those who want to share a tip with Fall River police anonymously can call 508-672-8477.


Jeremy C. Fox can be reached at jeremy.fox@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @jeremycfox.

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