Local News

NAACP to hold vigil in Johnston County

Posted September 26, 2008 8:17 a.m. EDT

— The North Carolina NAACP will hold a prayer vigil in Johnston County this weekend to challenge intolerance.

The vigil will be held at 3 p.m. Sunday at the Smithfield courthouse.

Earlier this month, Johnston County Sheriff Steve Bizzell made controversial comments to a reporter for The News & Observer newspaper in Raleigh.

In a Sept. 7 article in which Bizzell talked about his frustration with the changing face of the county where he grew up, he called Mexicans "trashy" and said the growing Latino population in his county was "breeding like rabbits."

"Everywhere you look, it's like little Mexico around here," he said in the article.

Bizzell later apologized for the remarks, saying his comments were targeted at illegal immigrants and not all Latinos.

Twenty-six civil rights organizations sent a letter to commissioners last week calling for Bizzell’s resignation. Hispanic media group Que Pasa has also called for Bizzell to resign.