Former coroner scrutinized over racial slur; Eatmon says he was target of hacker

Published 8:37 am Monday, January 9, 2017

Marengo County’s coroner, who actually resigned from the post effective Dec. 31, has been under scrutiny this week after a post that included a racial slur appeared on his social media page.
On Tuesday, Stuart Eatmon’s Facebook page included a shared post about an African-American military member who refused to stand for the National Anthem. The racial slur was within a comment about that article.
Eatmon said he did not post the comment; that his Facebook account was hacked and the comment placed there by somebody else.
“When (hackers) get on your Facebook page they can do anything they want to,” Eatmon said. “I couldn’t even see it on my page. I guess whoever did it deleted it. I found out about it when some people from Tennessee, originally from Demopolis and Forkland, sent it to me through a chat. My daughter found it later that night and sent it to me.”
In addition to the racial slur, Eatmon said his social media contacts were sent nude pictures from his account. At one point, the post also referred to him as being a veteran, but he said he is not a veteran and would not claim to be.
On Tuesday, when the post was just beginning to make its rounds on social media, there was confusion as to whether Eatmon was still the coroner. Eatmon said he presented his resignation to the Marengo County Commission in November, effective at the end of the year, due to health reasons.
However, County Commissioner Freddie Armstead was calling for Eatmon’s resignation after seeing the post.
“As an elected official, we do not have the power to do anything regarding his position as coroner. We will ask for his resignation at the commission meeting on Tuesday (Jan. 10). The coroner represents all of us and I think it is a disgrace for him to use those words. His Facebook page does not reflect what is happening in Marengo County. Anyone who makes a comment like that does not deserve to represent the citizens of Marengo County,” Armstead said.
According to Woody Dining, lawyer for the county commission, Eatmon’s resignation did become official on Dec. 31. He added that since the coroner is a constitutional office, it would be filled by appointment from the governor; however, the probate judge does have the power to fill the vacancy on an interim basis until the governor makes his appointment.
Probate Judge Laurie Hall said she will need a written request from the county commission to fill the vacancy, but has not received it as of Thursday.
The social media post has put Eatmon and his family in the spotlight, including receiving what he described as “death threats.”
“Our lives have been threatened over this,” he said. “My wife and my kids have been threatened.”
Eatmon said his children range in age from 8 to 19. He added those threats have mostly come by phone.
“I never would have said those type things,” Eatmon said. “I’ve helped numerous people from all walks of life over the years; I grew up playing with black friends and my kids have as well. If I were racist, I wouldn’t have done many of the things I’ve done over the years. People who know me know that I’m not a racist person,” he said.
Eatmon served as coroner of Marengo County for 18 years, dating back to 2001.