Sheriff says there’s an explanation behind a viral video in Monroe County

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MONROE COUNTY, Miss. (WCBI)- A viral video is moving from one phone to another in Monroe County.

It showed an inmate putting campaign signs together that have Sheriff Cecil Cantrell’s name on them.

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The sheriff believed this video was made months ago and is being released just weeks before the election, for political gain.

He said there’s an explanation for how the inmate started working on the signs.

In this video sent to WCBI, you can see an inmate wearing a green jumpsuit putting wireframes on political signs with Sheriff Cecil Cantrell’s name on them.

The sheriff said he became aware of the video on Tuesday night.

Now, he wants to explain what people are seeing.

“I would like to say, there is an inmate that was held here at the Monroe County work center. He took it upon himself to go down and put up put some signs together. I don’t know why he did that. Nobody encouraged him to do that. Nobody asked him to do that, matter of fact, I have told staff to never let any inmate touch any of my signs or anything,” said Sheriff Cantrell.

Off-camera, Cantrell told WCBI that he was out of town and received a call from his sign maker that his order was ready. Cantrell then said he asked the inmate work program manager to go by the sign maker and pick-up the signs in a personal vehicle. The signs were then left at the inmate workshop for Cantrell to get the next day.

The sheriff said the video had to have been taken months ago.

“He’s out on parole, about I don’t know, about two months I guess. This had to have happened back in April March or April. He made a statement to MDOC this morning that he got bored and he didn’t have anything else to do, so he just went down to the shop, which they go down to. The inmates go down to just about anytime they want to do work, and he saw those, and he took it upon himself to do what he did, and we didn’t encourage, ask him, or anything. So he did that himself,” said Sheriff Cantrell.

He also said the video appears to be political.

“There’s no doubt in my mind is just a political ploy to try to get somebody else votes, I guess that’s all you can say. I will say this since it’s got to this level is nothing but dirty rotten politics, it’s sad that people have to stoop to a level like this to tarnish someone’s name and I hate this I hate that this, but it was beyond my control,” said Sheriff Cantrell.

Cantrell said there is a departmental investigation underway into the matter.

Spokespersons for the State Auditor and State Attorney General offices say they cannot confirm the existence of any investigation.

State law said inmates participating in the work program can perform public service work for counties.

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