A Long County man, who has been circulating a petition to force Ludowici to vote on the hard-liquor sales option, told the city council Thursday that law officers had been harassing him.
Brown Bagger store owner Sean Tucker told the council that since he began gathering signatures he has been pulled over three times. He said that during the stops the officers searched for illegal drugs and checked him for DUI. Tucker said he was not cited. Tucker also told council members that city, Long County and Georgia State Patrol officers now park in front of his business for as long as three hours at a time. That, he said, scares away customers from his shop, which sells beer, wine and cigarettes.
“If they all are sitting around over there, then they’re not out doing their job,” Tucker said.
He also said some city and school employees, as well as members of local churches told him they feared losing their jobs after signing his petition.
He said his petition campaign was an attempt to bring additional revenue into the city to help it progress. He asked the council to stop police from harassing him and from parking near his business.
Mayor James Fuller and councilmember Mary Hamilton told Tucker officers have always parked where he objected because it is on the busiest street in town, where speeding is common. Councilmember Mark Chesser said Flash Foods and IGA are also in that area and have not made similar allegations.
Councilmembers also denied threatening anyone’s job for signing the petition. They also said no orders were given to police to harass him.
Tucker wouldn’t name who told him they were threatened. Officials had asked so they could investigate. They said they would not tolerate it. Chesser said without names there was no way the council could look into it.
Hamilton said if the allegations are true, “I promise you, we will stop it.”
Long County Sheriff’s Office Chief Deputy Robert Berry denied the allegations.
“That’s the first I’ve heard of any of this. But, no, we aren’t targeting his business or any other business in town. If someone is harassing him, it’s not coming from the sheriff’s office. But if he wants to come into the office and talk to us, then we’ll look into it.”
Sheriff Craig Nobles was out of town.