Police: Man slapped 72-year-old woman over carriage horse advocacy banner

John Gordon Polk (Charleston County Detention Center)

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) - A 39-year-old man was arrested for simple assault after authorities say he slapped a 72-year-old woman on the hand over a banner promoting humane treatment of carriage animals.

John Gordon Polk, of North Woodmere Drive, surrendered to police Wednesday at police headquarters at 180 Lockwood Blvd. for the incident that occurred on Feb. 7, according to the Charleston Police Department.

According to the Classic Carriage Works, Polk was an employee of the carriage company.

According to a police report, Polk stopped his green Chevrolet Impala outside the victim's home on Wentworth Street downtown and honked his car horn and shouted at the victim and her husband over the banner.

"When (the victim) took a picture of him and his license plate, he became angry and slapped her hand knocking her cell phone to the ground," according to the report.

The victim is the co-founder of Charleston Carriage Horse Advocates.

A statement from the organization following the Feb. 7 incident stated that the victim and her husband were sitting down to enjoy dinner on the patio when the incident occurred.

The victim emailed a video of the suspect to investigators.

Polk's court date is scheduled for March 5, according to arrest records.

Charleston C.A.R.E.S (Carriage Association for Responsible Equine Safety) is made up of three horse carriage companies. The group released a statement Wednesday condemning Polk's actions stating that Polk should no longer be a tour guide in the City of Charleston.

Classic Carriage Works, not a member of the association according to the association's website, released its own statement on Facebook Wednesday stating in part, "Classic Carriage Works does not condone the actions of anyone involved in the recent altercation between one of our tour guides and a well-known anti-carriage antagonizer," adding that it hopes authorities will "interview witnesses from all sides in order to find the truth behind these accusations."

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