Cary, N.C. — A dispute over a proposed baseball field in north Raleigh for special-needs children has led to an alleged assault.
The Miracle League of the Triangle, which organizes a baseball league for more than 500 special-needs children in the area, and the Kerr Family YMCA want to build some baseball fields off Queensland Road in the Wakefield development.
Residents of the nearby Carrington neighborhood opposed to the move went to Adams Elementary School in Cary, where the Miracle League now plays its games, on May 26 to hand out their fliers to parents.
"It just seemed like a bad choice, on a holiday weekend, to come out here and ask parents who already support the league to join them in their effort to stop (the expansion)," Miracle League board member Joe Dew said Monday.
The flier, entitled "What is the Miracle League Not Telling You?" warns of health concerns because of power transmission lines near the site of the proposed ballfields.
"It felt like scare tactics to me," Dew said.
Tensions rose as Cary police ordered the protesters off school property and out to the sidewalk. Witnesses said Traci Brown, executive director of the Miracle League, was relaying that message to a couple of protesters when she was hit in the back and knocked to the ground.
"It was described to me as both fists coming down on the back of her. I believe hitting her in the neck and in the shoulder," Dew said.
Police arrested Gene C. George, 48, of 2905 Witterton Place in Raleigh, last week and charged him with assault in the case.
"It's disappointing that somebody would get physical," Dew said. "It gives you a little pause. It makes you stop and wonder how we are not communicating with each other."
George couldn't be reached for comment Monday.
"I don't think I would take it that far," Carrington resident Chantay Henderson said of the alleged assault.
Henderson said she doesn't want the incident to take away from real concerns neighbors have about potential traffic and noise from the ballfields.
"It's not that many homes here," she said. "It's going to stir up a lot of traffic and commotion. They said there are going to be big lights."
The Miracle League is committed to working with the Carrington neighborhood to address residents' concerns, officials said, but they don't view the transmission lines as a real issue, noting that the residents chose to live near them.