Party asked for added police presence on Election Day after messages, gestures
By Sally Voth
With hostile messages and gestures directed toward the Warren County Democrats' Main Street Front Royal headquarters in the past month, the party asked for an added police presence on Election Day.
"Yesterday morning, we came in at 5 o'clock in the morning, and there was a police officer there, and he was taking off these pictures of this alleged aborted fetus," party Chairwoman Molly Snyder said Wednesday. "I'm not even sure it's a real picture. It's just ugly and horrible. On it, it says, 'Abortion The Democrat's Choice.'"
The photo, which shows a bloody, decapitated infant head, was stuck on the glass door in front of a cardboard cutout of President Obama. Snyder said the picture was on three of the headquarters' windows, at 216 E. Main St.
A Mitt Romney sticker was also stuck on the door, she said.
This is the third time anti-abortion materials were left at the office, according to Snyder.
"They don't just do it to our office," she said. "They do it to the Daily Grind across the street. They put it on the pole."'
Other businesses and an unrented office were also recipients of the materials, Snyder said.
The Democrats' building was first targeted in early October, she said, and during a pro-life march the same month.
"When we came in [after the march], there was a bunch of pro-life propaganda thrown in the vestibule of our office," Snyder said. "I just can't figure out what the point is. Is it to intimidate me -- because that's not going to work."
She wondered if the person leaving the pictures was trying to get her to change her views.
"You don't change my mind, get into my heart by sticking up this disgusting, vile picture," Snyder said.
She said the party contacted Front Royal police after the first incident, and said she was pleased with the department's handling of its concerns. The department also was asked to do extra patrols Tuesday.
"I wasn't afraid because I didn't think the people of Warren County would do that, but I did have some members who were afraid," Snyder said.
The headquarters has been targeted in other ways, with everything from people going by and booing -- which Snyder described as innocuous -- to people driving by and pretending to point a gun, to others saying cutouts of Obama and the First Lady would be "good for target practice," she said.
"It's hard to be a Democrat in Warren County, but you know what, winning makes it all worthwhile," Snyder said.
On Wednesday, Front Royal Police Chief Norman Shiflett said no permanent damage was done to the building.
"We didn't really work it as a crime," he said. "We took the information. We would consider it to be a nuisance complaint."
Cpl. Steve Mauck confirmed that police responded to the party headquarters at 4:30 a.m. Tuesday, and for a similar complaint on Oct. 10.
Shiflett said the police department monitored polling places and Democratic and Republican headquarters throughout the day and evening.
Contact staff writer Sally Voth at 540-465-5137 ext. 164, or firstname.lastname@example.org