Statement of Madison County Journal Publisher James E. Prince III regarding death threats against Associate Editor and Publisher Michael Simmons and Madison Mayor Mary Hawkins-Butler:

We have been aware of the alleged threats for some time and made the proper contact with law enforcement authorities at that time to ensure the safety and well-being of all of our employees. At no time has this alleged threat risen to anything more than the usual drama associated with Madison County politics, which we are far more comfortable reporting on than being a part of.

Michael Simmons has done an exemplary job fulfilling the First Amendment role of the press to hold public officials accountable since he, following a long line of others who have reported the truth, took the helm at the Journal speaking truth to power, which includes the board members of Canton Municipal Utilities and their now former engineer. Frankly, we would expect to be in their crosshairs if we’re doing our job. Telling the truth carries a price and this spectacle illustrates precisely why.