CLAIM

Miller County Judge Roy John McNatt wrote a racist memo about black people.

RATING

ORIGIN

An image purportedly showing a racist memo from Roy John McNatt in which the Arkansas judge allegedly asked to have black people removed from the road department reappears for unknown reasons every few years, despite having been investigated and debunked years before:

“I need your help in getting rid of Blacks in the Road Dept. All I need Blacks for is votes, nothing else pass that. This letter is confidential between you and I, once read please destroy.”

The memo, which was dated 30 March 2005, was investigated by Arkansas state officials in 2008. At the time, McNatt called the letter a “complete lie” and said that someone was attempting to smear him in an attempt to sway the election. The Texarkana Gazette reported:

“The letter is a complete lie. I’ve seen the letter someone else turned over to the prosecutor and you can see lines on the copy where it looks like it was pasted together,” said McNatt. “The letterhead is mine and the signature is mine. Everything else is completely bogus. I heard of this kind of stuff going on 20 or 30 years ago to slander people to get votes,” he said. “I did not and would not write a memo like that. It hurts me to think someone would put something out like that. The people of Miller County don’t deserve this kind of politics,” said McNatt.

The Texarkana Gazette noted several other factors indicating that this memo was a hoax. For instance, the memo did not match the judge’s stationery; Road Foreman J.W. Crabtree, whom the memo was addressed, said that he never received the message; and the word “foreman” was misspelled.

McNatt also passed a polygraph test about the document with “flying colors”:

McNatt says the document is a fraud. Miller County Deputy Prosecutor Carlton Jones has confirmed that McNatt took and passed a polygraph examination.

“He was administered the polygraph in regards to the document and he did pass. It means he did not create or disseminate the document,” Jones said. “He has been cleared as a suspect and we will continue into our forgery investigation.”

“He was administered the polygraph in regards to the document and he did pass. It means he did not create or disseminate the document,” Jones said. “He has been cleared as a suspect and we will continue into our forgery investigation.”

McNatt is the incumbent county judge, the top elected official in Miller County. He is being challenged by Jerry Sewell in the May 20 Democratic primary.

During a political forum Tuesday night, McNatt announced he had passed the polygraph “with flying colors.”

Even though the memo was found to be a hoax in 2008, the racist message has continued to plague McNatt. The bogus letter surfaced again as McNatt was running for Miller County Judge in March 2016:

Voter turnout appears to be low in the run-off election for Miller County judge. However, the talk is running high after what authorities say is a bogus letter that has resurfaced from 8 years ago. The letter alleges former County Judge and now candidate Roy McNatt of racism.

“That is a very untrue letter. I am not a racist person, there is no truth to it,” explained McNatt.

But, the letter seems to always surface at election time.

Back in 2008, the Arkansas State Police and the Miller County Prosecutor’s Office conducted an investigation into the origin of the letter.

Carlton Jones was a deputy prosecutor at the time and told KSLA News 12 the letter turned out to be bogus. McNatt was eventually cleared of all accusations.

If somebody was attempting to smear McNatt in an attempt to sway the election, it didn’t work. McNatt won the race for Miller County Judge in 2016. 

Williamson, Jim.   “Judge: Racist memo a fake.”
    Texarkanna Gazette.   6 May 2006

Dunn, Lori.   “McNatt wins race for Miller County judge.”
    Texarkana Gazette.   9 November 2016

Associated Press.   “Miller County judge passes polygraph.”
    10 Ma7 2008.

Associated Press.   “Miller County judge passes polygraph.”
    10 Ma7 2008.

KSLA.   “Bogus letters could sway Miller County voters.”
    22 March 2016.

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