A candidate for mayor in the April 4 election said she is upset about vandalism targeted at her family that she believes was politically motivated.
Jo Ann Reed was at her father’s house of 52 years Sunday when they discovered that someone was outside breaking numerous windows to vehicles belonging to her and other relatives. The vandalism occurred in the 100 block of North 42nd Street.
“I am deeply hurt that someone would stoop that low and involve my family to that degree,” said Reed. “My daddy ... is 88 years old, and to be subjected to this type of violence is ludicrous. I feel completely helpless.
“I feel no one can help us and pretty soon we are gonna have to help ourselves. It appears that those who can help us cares enough to,” Reed said.
Reed said she has no idea who is responsible, “but I have my suspicions. I don’t want to accuse anyone, but I believe it is politically connected. Nothing happens until I decide to run. And, every time I participate in an election I am subjected to violence ... me and my supporters,” Reed said.
Reed’s opponent for mayor, Devione Kidd, said he doesn’t know whether the vandalism situation in Alorton was political or not, but said he doesn’t know anything about it and had nothing to do with it. He said when he learned of the situation he went to the scene. There he spoke with Reed’s brother and told him “to let me know if there is anything I can do to help out.”
Kidd said he is intolerant of anyone committing crimes to anyone’s property.
“Anybody committing property crimes or vandalism in the village of Alorton should be caught and prosecuted no matter what political office they are running for. I don’t know if it was political or not,” he said.
Reed said Alorton police and St. Clair County Sheriff’s deputies responded to the scene. But Sheriff Rick Watson said his department has not been asked by Alorton police to investigate the crimes.
Reed, who has held public jobs for years, said this is not the first time she has been targeted. Her house was burned to the ground in 2007. “And, there has been numerous acts of violence involving me ... someone broke out all the windows in my house, my car, cutting my tires, cutting my alarm system, you name it. It’s happening because I want to participate in the election process. I have that right. I should have the freedom to do so also without being taunted and subjected to violence.”
Reed and Kidd both are facing state charges in connection with vote fraud. Reed was charged by St. Clair County State’s Attorney Brendan Kelly with electioneering, and Kidd is charged with tampering with absentee ballots. A motion to suppress evidence is scheduled in his case next week, according to court records.
“The vandalism and violence has now spilled over to my parents’ house,” said Reed’s brother, Rarris Reed. “We are trying not to stoop to the level of the individuals who are bringing down this community. We want to take the dignified approach.”
Speaking rather dejectedly, Jo Ann Reed said, “This could not have happened at a worse time. We should be able to focus on my father’s health, but now we have to focus on his safety.” She said she will remain strong and won’t let this deter her passion to make a difference in Alorton.
Anyone with information about the crimes is asked to call the Alorton Police Department at 618-874-7084 or Sheriff’s Department at 618-277-3504.
Carolyn P. Smith: 618-239-2503