LAMAR, SC (WBTW) – Council met Monday night for the first time since Mayor Darnell Byrd McPherson reported her car had been vandalized in what police say turned out to be pollen.
In an incident report filed by Lamar police, Mayor Byrd McPherson told police her husband went to get some things from the car and noticed “The car is covered in paint.” The incident happened on Feb. 7.
In a social media post, the mayor stated: “Vandals came in the dark of night on Wednesday and spray painted both cars parked in the front yard at the residences of our Mayor and her Spouse.”
The mayor stated that she had “a possible suspect in mind at the time,” according to the police report.
Lamar police and a deputy with the Darlington County Sheriff’s Office investigated the substance and concluded it had a yellowish tint to it and that it was a type of powder similar to pollen. SLED had also been called in based on the seriousness of the accusations, according to Lt. Robert Kilgo with the Darlington County Sheriff’s Office. The mayor denies that it was pollen.
Earlier this month, Newsweek reported the mayor said it ignited fear in her and she likened it to a hate crime because there is a history in the town of Lamar. Newsweek cited a New York Times report from 1970 about school buses being blocked by white men as they tried to carry black children to newly segregated schools.
“I have worked in a hostile environment. I have worked where someone came and cut my tires, so when I saw that, it scared me,” Byrd McPherson said Monday night at a council meeting.
News13 spoke to Mayor Byrd McPherson on the phone earlier Monday. She says she reported a sticky substance found on her car, to the Lamar Police Department. Later, when police returned to her to sign the report, she says she signed it without reading it first.
She says the officer did not give any indication that the situation had changed since she first reported the incident.
She also says that police never gave a sample of the substance to SLED during their investigation.
Mayor Byrd McPherson believes police did not use the proper investigative techniques when looking into this incident.
The case has gotten national attention. The mayor told News13 Monday that she did not mean to offend anyone and that was not her intention. She also says she has received hateful messages since the story made national headlines, including at least one person calling her the n-word.