Friday, January 15, 2010

Accused Racist Graffiti Writer Asks For Diversion


KINGSPORT - A 19-year-old Kingsport man has applied for pretrial diversion on a vandalism charge alleging he spraypainted graffiti that police have described as, "racist, obscene and threatening to President Obama" on an I-26 overpass.

Andy B. Frye, 1608 Seaver Road, asked for pretrial diversion following his arraignment on a charge of vandalism over $500 in Blountville court Thursday. Frye was indicted on the charge in September 2009.

According to Baker and Associates Civil and Criminal Trial Lawyers, a person who applies for pre-trial diversion in Tennessee has a background check done by the District Attorney through the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation. Taken into consideration is the person's personal history including jobs, previous record, references from people who know the defendant, etc., in an effort to find out whether the person is a pre-trial diversion candidate. The prosecutor then negotiates with the defense attorney any conditions the person will have to fulfill, if pre-trial diversion is a qualifying solution to the case. If pre-trial diversion is granted and the person successfully completes the terms set forth by the court, the charge can be dropped.

According to a Kingsport Police Department news release issued after Frye's arrest, the vandalism on the Meadowview Parkway I-26 overpass was reported on April 19th. Some of the graffiti referred to Obama as "the modern Hitler," while other beams on the underpass read "all blacks must die" and "KKK."

Photos of the graffiti are posted on the Web site of the Douglass Alumni Association, a community group based in the Riverview section of Kingsport.

Det. Chris Tincher said Frye was developed as a suspect following a report on the vandalism that was aired by WCYB-TV. Anonymous tipsters then contacted Kingsport police and implicated Frye. Tipsters said Frye had also posted racist and anti-Obama comments on the Internet, but authorities were unable to verify those claims, Tincher said.

Sullivan County Assistant District Attorney Gene Perrin said a decision whether to grant Frye pretrial diversion may be announced at Frye's next court appearance on March 29th.

EDITOR'S NOTE: To view a slide show of the racist graffiti painted on the Meadowview I-26 overpass in April, 2009, please click here.