According to a police report filed with the Pickens County Sheriff’s Office, David Leister was filling out the necessary paperwork to qualify to run for the City Council seat on July 30 when he heard someone call him an offensive slur.
“While he was filling out paperwork with the assistance of an employee, he (Leister) heard a voice come from behind him say what sounded like the person saying, ‘Who’s that f-----!’ Albert (Leister) said he knew the voice to be that of the suspect, Mr. William McNiff, whom he has had trouble with in the past while Albert was acting as mayor for the city of Nelson,” the police report states.
McNiff, a member of the Canton Tea Party, ran for a Nelson City Council seat in 2012, but lost. Leister filed a police report with the Nelson Police Department in 2012 after he received threatening phone calls from McNiff.
McNiff said Tuesday he had no comment on the incident.
When asked if he heard the slur stated in the police report, Leister confirmed what happened.
“I heard (McNiff) come in and say that word. And I ignored him because it was childish. Then he came over and degraded me. His associate Duane Chronic laughed. I’m not going to be bullied or slandered by the political elitists because they feel threatened by my honesty,” Leister said Tuesday.
The police report states Leister ignored the comment, but McNiff got into his face. He removed Leister’s sunglasses and said, “I want to see your face when I talk to you.” When Leister told McNiff to get out of his face and McNiff refused to do so, Board of Elections Supervisor Julianne Roberts told both of them she was calling a deputy to have McNiff removed, according to the report.
“The incident was unfortunate and frightening that certain people in and around Nelson feel that they can do and say anything to and about me without consequences,” Leister said.
The report states McNiff left the building and departed the area before the Pickens County Sheriff’s Office arrived. Leister did not want to pursue charges at the time of the incident, however requested information on how to obtain a possible temporary protective order, according to the police report.
Leister said Tuesday he is still pursuing his options on pressing charges or filing a protective order against McNiff.
“I don’t retract or recant the feeling when I say that I’m in fear for my life whenever I see him,” Leister said. “I was slurred and slandered against when I was mayor and I’m not taking this anymore. I want to be able to walk freely in my hometown and feel safe.”
Leister will face two other candidates — former mayor Michael Haviland and Tina Monaghan — in the Nov. 4 election for two vacant seats on the Nelson City Council. The top two vote-getters will claim the seats on the council.