AUGUSTA — A community activist, armed with a chain saw and spray paint, is trying to send a message to gangs and drug dealers in an Augusta neighborhood.
Woody Merry used the chain saw Monday to chop down a Bradford pear tree that he said was the meeting spot for drug deals in the neighborhood.
Merry also spray-painted “GOT COPS” over graffiti. The slogan stands for “Get Out of Town; Citizens on Patrol Surveillance,” The Augusta Chronicle reported.
Drug dealers typically stand beneath the tree and accept money from buyers before completing the transactions behind a nearby trailer, Merry said.
“They’ve got a great system, but we just threw a big old kink in it,” Merry said.
The tree needed to come down, said Lori Davis, a past president of the Harrisburg West End Neighborhood Association.
She said an elementary school opened in August across the street from the tree, and the surrounding area wasn’t cleaned up.
“I rarely frequent this street day or night,” Davis said. “It’s like a gantlet coming through drug dealing and what not.”
Now, Merry and others say they’re trying to make the neighborhood safer.
“Nobody’s challenging these guys on the streets,” Merry said.