The North Carolina branch of the NAACP is asking authorities to investigate the burning of a political sign in Huntersville.
A home security video caught a white man on Tuesday burning a sign supporting U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan. The sign was in the yard of Ryan Goldsberry, 46, a manager for Arcadia Group International.
Hagan, a Democrat, is in a tight race for re-election against Republican Thom Tillis.
“A burning sign in our yard is more than an attempt to silence our free speech,” said Goldsberry, who is black. “A burning sign is a symbol of the undemocratic tactics some will use to impose their will on the whole community.”
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State NAACP Tom Wolf said the group has asked the U.S. Department of Justice, the U.S. attorney in the Western District and the North Carolina attorney general’s office to investigate.
In a letter to authorities, the NAACP said the incident may have violated the Voting Rights Act and may constitute a hate crime.
Noelle Talley, spokeswoman for N.C. Attorney General Roy Cooper, said the office plans to forward the letter to the State Bureau of Investigation.
The Rev. Kojo Nantambu, president of the Charlotte branch of the NAACP, called the burning “one of the most horrendous acts of voter intimidation yet seen in this election cycle.”
“This was a dangerous and cowardly act,” Nantambu said. “The sight of someone burning items in your yard is very reminiscent of not too long ago when the Ku Klux Klan terrorized Charlotte.”