BLADENBORO — For the second time this year, Bladenboro Town Administrator Delane Jackson has found himself in hot water after an alleged altercation that took place at Bo's Food Store in Bladenboro.
“Delane Jackson, town administrator for the town of Bladenboro, was served with a warrant for arrest for simple assault and a criminal summons for communicating threats,” said Chief Deputy Rodney Hester of the Bladen County Sheriff's Office.
Both charges are misdemeanors and Jackson is scheduled to appear in court on Jan. 2, 2014.
“I believe that I am now being personally attacked by the same group of people who participated in a very vicious campaign,” Jackson said. “Many of them are not even residents of this town. I attribute their attacks on me to my affiliation with the outgoing board members and their dissatisfaction with my recent appointment and employment contract.”
According to WWAY, Bladenboro resident Keith Dowless took warrants out on Jackson, who turned himself in on Monday afternoon.
“Delane Jackson was served with both processes just after 2 p.m. … after meeting a Bladen County deputy at the Magistrate's Office,” said Hester.
Jackson was given a $500 unsecured bond and he was released.
According to reports, Dowless and his wife were at Bo's Food Store in Bladenboro at the meat counter when Jackson allegedly approached them. According to reports, Jackson is alleged to have asked Dowless if they were mad at him and why they voted in favor of the referendum (which changed the type of government that Bladenboro operates under).
According to reports, Dowless claimed he felt threatened by Jackson's behavior. According to reports, Jackson is alleged to have “gotten into Dowless' face” and was asked to step away. According to reports, Jackson told Dowless, “Why don't you make me?”
Jackson said that, in Bladen County, there appears to be a low threshold for filing legal charges against someone.
“One warrant that I was served with literally reads as follows: 'The defendant named above unlawfully and willfully did assault Keith Dowless by getting real close to his face with his face,'” Jackson said. “I did not touch Mr. Dowless nor did I threaten him. He does not even allege that in his complaint. If 'getting close' to another person merits assault, then I along with many others in society am guilty of and have been a victim of multiple assaults. I am appalled that a magistrate would issue such a warrant.
“The other charge issued against me claims that I threatened Johnny Deaver,” Jackson added. “I went to Mr. Deaver, who is a neighbor of mine, to discuss a malicious and physically harmful comment that he had directed to me through another person. His comment suggested that I needed to 'be shot.' I did not threaten him.”
Jackson was named the new town administrator after the board held a special called meeting last week and voted to implement the change to the charter, which voters approved on Nov. 5, then installed Jackson as administrator. Under the contract, Jackson will remain as town administrator for one year and is entitled to six months pay or not more than $30,000 if he is fired for any reason than a felony conviction.
Jackson is no stranger to controversy. In March, he was involved in altercation involving two women that took place at the laundromat he owns in Bladenboro. The charges in that case were eventually dropped.
“In my opinion, both of the charges are trumped up and frivolous,” Jackson said. “I look forward to my day in court where the full story will be told. I am confident that I will be found to be innocent of all charges.”
He added that he is considering further legal action himself.
“Based on advice from professionals, I am considering bringing legal action against both of my accusers and I am also considering filing a complaint against the Bladen County Magistrates Office,” Jackson said. “The town of Bladenboro has many wonderful people living in it. Many of those good people have reached out to me with their support. However, there are some people in and around town whose goal is to cause trouble and controversy. I regret the negative publicity that these incidents have brought on my town.”