Stokes Co. Democratic Party chair arrested for kicking man in groin says he used ‘profane slur’

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Vivian Fulk,

STOKES COUNTY, N.C. — The chairwoman of the Stokes County Democratic Party told King police that the man she is accused of assaulting Tuesday had argued with her and called her a profane name and a liar before she kicked him in the groin and threw herbal tea on him, according to the Winston-Salem Journal. 

Vivian Fulk also told Chief Paula May that John Payton Bates had followed her around the outside of the American Legion Post, a polling place.

Fulk, 55, of Goff Road in King, is charged with misdemeanor simple assault, according to an arrest warrant.

Fulk declined Wednesday to comment about the incident, which occurred Election Day in the parking lot of Post 290 at 446 S. Main St. in King, police said.

Bates admitted Wednesday that he called Fulk a profane name, but denied that he sought a confrontation with her.

Bates, a Republican, said he was campaigning for his niece, Republican Ronda Jones, who won re-election as a Stokes County commissioner.

Bates said he had never met Fulk, though he said he knew who she was.

Bates said he and Fulk had exchanged harsh words throughout the day. Shortly before the incident, Bates said Fulk called him a liar.

Bates said he then turned away from Fulk and spoke to Michael Hylton of Sandy Ridge, a Democratic candidate who lost in his bid Tuesday win to become a Stokes County commissioner.

Bates said he then called Fulk the profane slur. She overheard him, Bates said.

Fulk demanded that Bates apologize to her, but Bates said he refused.

Fulk then threatened to kick him in the groin, Bates said. As he turned toward her, Fulk kicked him, Bates said.

Bates said he doubled over, and Fulk knocked him to the ground and hit him with the tea.

She also kicked him twice on his left leg, Bates said. Bates said he suffered minor, but painful injuries to his left elbow and left shoulder.

After declining comment, Fulk referred to a statement issued Wednesday by the Stokes County Democratic Party.

The statement said Fulk has filed a misdemeanor complaint against Bates with a magistrate, alleging that Bates created public disturbance by using abusive language and causing a breach of the peace.

“In the incident in King on Nov. 4, Mrs. Fulk stood her ground and acted in self-defense,” the statement said. “Though passions ran high during the recent election, the Stokes County Democratic party also is issuing a plea to people of all parties to treat each other with the greatest possible civility and mutual respect and to focus on our mutual concern for what’s best for Stokes County and all its people.”

Bates said Wednesday night that he hadn’t been served with Fulk’s complaint.

“I always heard the politics was a rough and tumble game,” Bates said “And now, I know that for sure.”