Noose Found Outside Candidate's Business

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A disturbing discovery was made Thursday morning outside the business office of Meridian mayoral candidate, Percy Bland.

Bland says one of his employees found a noose hanging outside his State Farm insurance office.

The Democrat says he's only comfortable sharing a prepared statement about what happened, because the case has been turned over to the FBI.

We do know that Bland's office manager reported finding a child's hooded blanket with an animal face attached that had a noose around its neck hanging from an outside light fixture when she reported for work. We originally reported it to be a stuffed animal.

She notified Bland as well as the Meridian Police Department. Bland says police dusted for fingerprints.

Bland says he won't be disheartened by the act:

"This is a cowardly act, designed to intimidate, scare and terrorize," said Bland. "We have notified the proper authorities. There is no place for this in our society . I have a simple message to the person or the people who did this. I am not afraid of you. We are going to continue to focus on running a successful campaign for mayor. Thank you."

Bland is running against Rod Amos in the Democratic Primary May 7.

Both Amos and incumbent Mayor Cheri Barry released statements on the incident.

"It's unfortunate, and I pray for the well-being of all the candidates involved in the city election," said Amos.

"I am saddened by news of this alleged incident. I want everyone in this community to know that this type of behavior will not be tolerated," said Barry, adding that the investigation has her full support.

Meridian police said Friday they collected evidence and forwarded it to the F.B.I. for analysis. Police are asking the public's help in identifying the owner of the blanket, or if they have any information about the crime, to contact Crimestoppers at 601-485-1860.

Percy Bland