Madeira ’sign-gate’ prompts investigations into vandalism
More than 50 ’Black Lives Matter’ yard signs were vandalized Sunday morning
MADEIRA, Ohio (FOX19) - Tensions are rising in Madeira after someone was seen on camera vandalizing dozens of yard signs last weekend.
If you drive through town, you will notice there is no shortage of people showing support for candidates for the November election. Supporting a candidate with a yard sign is protected under the First Amendment; vandalism and trespassing are not.
“Just over the past couple of weeks we have seen a bit of an escalation,” said Mayor Nancy Spencer.
Last week, Spencer says someone was caught on camera stomping over a few signs supporting President Donald Trump. Then this weekend, she says police took more than 50 reports of Black Lives Matter signs that were vandalized.
“I just feel very alarmed to see this escalating tension with how people are communicating with each other,” said Spencer. “We have no way to know if this is happening from residents within the community, but it definitely is creating an escalating tension.”
According to Madeira police, early Sunday morning a person was seen getting out of a black SUV, stopping outside of homes and spray-painting over Black Lives Matter signs. Mayor Spencer says a majority of the signs had the ’v’ in ’Lives’ covered over.
“So they read ‘Black Lies Matter,’ which as you can imagine has been pretty painful for a lot of people in the community.”
Spencer says it wasn’t just isolated to a single street, but all across the city, including at Abby Hottle’s home.
“At first we thought, it’s under a big tree we thought maybe it was a bird or something,” said Hottle. “We got closer and noticed it was not.”
Hottle says even thought it is just a sign, these acts make her feel more empowered for what she believes in.
“We’re trying to listen to the Black voices in our community, and I have to try to take that perspective of how I would feel if there were signs around saying ’Black Lies,’” Hottle said. “The neighbors that I spoke with and the people I know that had their signs vandalized, we knew it wasn’t right and we wanted to speak out about it.”
A man Spencer says is from out of town was charged last week for allegedly stomping the Trump signs. Spencer says he was charged with criminal mischief, trespassing and disorderly conduct. It’s unclear if whoever vandalized the Black Lives Matter signs would face the same charges.
Madeira police are asking those with information to contact the department at (513) 272-4214. They say those giving information can stay anonymous.
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