A single mother and her two sons say their next-door neighbor has shone spotlights into their Union home and played loud music late at night for months.
Thomas Standley allegedly walked back and forth in a wooded area between their homes, clicking a taser and pointing something with a red light toward them. He posted videos of their home on Facebook.
Earlier this week, the Means family made a stand. They called in Freedom Fighters Upstate SC, whose chair is long-time activist Traci Fant of Greenville.
She and her husband Jeffrey went to Union Tuesday to join Athatha Means, her sons and her neighbors and showed the situation live on her Facebook page..
Standley called law enforcement. He was the one who went to jail, charged with breach of peace, harassment, and five counts of assault and battery.
It was his second arrest involving the Means family. He was charged with harassment earlier this year and that case is pending.
“I’ve never seen anything like it,” Traci Fant said. “He would crouch down, had a light on us that looked like the beam of a gun.”
Means said Standley has been harassing them since he moved into the house a few months ago. She and Fant say his actions have racial undertones. Standley is White, Means is Black.
“I feel like he could hurt me,” Means said.
Standley also faces charges of threatening a public official, Union City Administrator Joe Nichols, by calling on God to bring His wrath upon Nichols.
Standley has been cited three times for throwing bodily fluid at an officer while in jail. A competency evaluation was ordered by the court in April.
The SC Attorney General’s Office is handling the prosecution because of a potential conflict, a spokesperson for the 16th Circuit Solicitor’s Office said.
A spokesman for AG’s office would say only they are prosecuting the original charges but had not yet received information on the new charges.
Fant said she has been told by law enforcement that their hands are tied in cases like this. The law does not offer a remedy until something bad happens.
Union County Sheriff Jeff Bailey could not be reached for comment. He, too, has been criticized by Standley in social media videos.
Standley was being held in Union County Detention Center Thursday and could not be reached for comment.
Standley’s YouTube channel contains videos in which he says he was the one being harassed. He told deputies his life was in danger and he set up spotlights to protect himself.
“I feel like I’m being cornered,” he said.
One video shows him walking by Means house during the day and chuckling.
He describes himself as a retired Army colonel, but the Army’s records office does not show anyone by his name having served.
Means said she has full-time surveillance cameras, motion sensor lights and four tarps hanging from her roof to keep the bright light out.
She’s lived in the neighborhood for two years. It used to be a quiet place, where neighbors chatted but largely kept to themselves.
“What do we have to look forward to?” she said. “I’d like to lie in my bed and not have to worry about my sensors going off.”