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03-21-07, 04:03 PM #1
Conservative Activist charged with stealing Mexican flag and other crimes on Mexicans
Charges of stealing a Mexican flag that offended her are being dismissed against Rhea County conservative activist June Griffin.
Mrs. Griffin, who was set to go to trial on Wednesday for charges that include hate crimes, said she was told by the district attorney's office that the two witnesses against her cannot be found.
Mrs. Griffin said she does not know where the two operators of an Hispanic store at Main and Market in Dayton have gone. "I hope they are at the bottom of the river. They caused me a lot of grief," she said.
Ms. Griffin said she was told by Assistant District Attorney Jim Pope that the charges involving the incident last July would be dismissed.
Prosecutors have sent an order to Circuit Court Judge Buddy Perry asking him to dismiss the case.
Prosecutors said they spent months trying to track down the witnesses, including trips to other states to look for them.
Mrs. Griffin said she decided to stop by the Hispanic grocery Carniceria Los Primos after attending a County Commission meeting. She said she noticed a 14"x12" inch cloth Mexican flag on the window.
She said, "It made me very angry, and I grabbed it. When you come to the U.S. you have to become an American. You can't flaunt your culture on us."
Mrs. Griffin said she took the flag to a rally at Morristown against illegal immigrants. She said she later turned it over to police.
She said she received an outpouring of support from all over the country, including Minutemen from many different states.
She said, "I praise God in this. I give Him all the glory. It has really been a wonderful experience."
She acted as her own attorney and "filed a bunch of papers" with the court.
Mrs. Griffin was also charged with phone harassment, vandalism and theft.
Prosecutors said she kicked the door on her way out of the store and damaged a hinge.
She later called the store owner and told him to "learn to speak English or get out."
The store is now empty and the building is for sale. Mrs. Griffin said it closed about a month after the July 20 incident.
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