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Our view: Was the arrest of a part-time employee in District Attorney David Learner’s office politically motivated? Probably. Does that make it wrong? No.

Why we believe that: A warrant was issued for the arrest of Bobby Powell in June of 1985, nearly 33 years ago. He was charged with felony larceny. Today, Powell is 75 and says he has no idea why there is a warrant for his arrest.

Powell works part-time for the district attorney. Last year, he was paid less than $15,000. The warrant lists no victims or details of the crime.

We expect the warrant will be found to have little merit and the charges dismissed. District attorney Learner, who happens to be up for re-election, said the case will be handled by an assistant district attorney in a neighboring county. That’s the right call. As was Catawba County Sheriff Coy Reid’s decision to make the arrest.

When Reid was tipped off that a warrant existed for Powell’s arrest, there was only one choice: serve the warrant. Reid made a courtesy phone call to Powell, and Powell surrendered to the charges.

In conclusion: Sheriff Reid was right. He could not ignore an outstanding warrant. Was the anonymous tip the sheriff received placed by someone wishing to see the district attorney ousted in the Republican primary with challenger Scott Reilly? It’s more than possible. But the law was followed and that is what we expect a sheriff to do.  

Small HED: No More Political Letters

And a reminder for those who keep sending political letters to the editor. The following appeared in print and online numerous times earlier this year:

The Hickory Daily Record will accept letters to the editor, both pro and con, about candidates until 5 p.m. Wednesday April 18. No letters about candidates will be published after the Wednesday April 25 edition. This ensures interested folks have plenty of time to have their say before the election while eliminating the last-minute letter bombshell that gives the targeted candidate no chance to respond. We strive to be fair and impartial. This policy helps us toward that goal. Submit letters to news@hickoryrecord.com

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