EYEWITNESS LOCAL NEWSOfficials, Community React To Mingo Arrests
from Eyewitness News Online
Reported by: Bob Aaron
Web Producer: Heath Harrison
Also Contributing: Kallie Cart
Reported: Aug. 15, 2013 4:49 PM EDT
Updated: Aug. 15, 2013 11:28 PM EDT
Williamson , Mingo County , West Virginia
Local Mingo County and state officials offered reactions Thursday to the arrest and charges of officials in the Southern West Virginia county.
Rumors of political corruption arrests had circulated for months in the County.
Some said the arrests were overdue. Others supported Thornsbury and Baisden, but most seemed to agree that it was another blow to the county's already tainted reputation .
“The people of this county deserve better,” Butch West of Williamson said. “(It)goes to the very heart of our county."
Mingo County Commissioner Greg “Hootie” Smith was talking to his fellow commissioner Dave Baisden when Baisden was arrested and handcuffed Thursday morning.
Smith showed a degree of support for Baisden and said it was too early to talk about selecting a replacement for him. Smith said an indictment is merely an accusation.
Baisden is accused of costing a tire dealer thousands of dollars by taking away county business because it would not sell him tires for a personal vehicle at the discounted government price.
Smith said the commission had made its records available to federal authorities. Mingo County Sheriff Rosie Crum declined comment.
U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin said the news out of Ssouthern West Virginia was troubling. Manchin was in Nitro on Thursday, talking with seniors about student loans, the role of government and the power of the U.S. Constitution.
Manchin said he had not heard many details about the arrests in Mingo County, but he said it is important to let the system deal with the situation before rushing to judgment.
Manchin has been in West Virginia this week talking about jobs. On Friday, he will be at the Wood Technology Center in Elkins meeting with community leaders.
The arrest has already prompted changes in downtown Williamson.
Just hours after those arrests, Thornsbury Way, a street next to the courthouse, was renamed.
The locks were also all changed at the courthouse.
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