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Sheriff Candidate Compares Incumbent to Hitler

September 22, 1995

MARTINSVILLE, Va. (AP) _ A candidate for sheriff compares the incumbent to Hitler in television ads that are running about 18 times a day on a small local cable channel.

``This ad is extremely insulting not only to me, but to veterans, the Jewish community and to my men,″ said Henry County Sheriff Frank Cassell, who is running for another term in the Nov. 7 election.

The two-minute commercials, which were paid for by candidate Ken Barnett, started appearing Tuesday on Cable 6. Barnett works as a technician at the station, which can be seen in Henry County.

``It is an obvious insult to the Jewish community, but it is a bigger insult to the entire community, which has an enormous amount of patriotic citizens who have laid their lives on the line to stop Hitler during World War II,″ said Vivian McDorman, president of Ohev Zion Synagogue.

In the spot, the sheriff’s picture appears beside one of Hitler. Deputies who locked Cable 6 reporters out of a fund-raiser for Cassell are referred to as ``goose-stepping Gestapo.″

Barnett said the comparison made in the commercial is valid. He said the deputies threatened to arrest the reporters if they entered the event.

Cassell said deputies kept the news team out because it had been a nuisance in the past. ``These people are very disruptive, sticking mikes in people’s faces and shouting questions,″ he said.