MECKLENBURG COUNTY, N.C. (FOX 46 CHARLOTTE) – It was October 7, 2020, early in the morning when someone put a tape over Kalle Thompson’s Ring camera.
Video from Thompson shows it was quick and hid what was about to happen. Thompson said within the course of five minutes, that person spray-painted her large Trump/Pence sign, writing “rapist” and “racist”, before taking the tape off the camera, and leaving her property.
“It was put up around 2 p.m. And at 1 a.m., it got spray painted,” said Thompson.
Thompson’s support for Republican candidates is no secret, with signs all throughout her yard. One of the signs is her own since she’s also running for a State House seat.
Thompson said her signs have, in addition to being vandalized, have also been stolen and that’s something that both Republicans and Democrats have been dealing with all election season.
“We agree on something,” said Mecklenburg Co. Democratic Party Chair Jane Whitley, when FOX 46 asked her about the cases of stolen and vandalized signs.
Whitley also expressed shock over the incident involving Thompson.
“You can’t do that,” said Whitley. “It’s not the proper way to express yourself, to take somebody else’s sign.”
There’s a reason for this, too — it’s protected speech. The North Carolina Department of Transportation notes on their website that unless someone is a member of a road crew, campaign signs that aren’t someone’s personal possession can’t be removed or vandalized, and doing so is a Class 3 misdemeanor.
The Mecklenburg County Republican Party said about half the calls they’re receiving leading up to Election day are about signs that have been stolen or otherwise gone missing.
Thompson’s opponent in the State House race, Democratic incumbent John Autry, said the thefts are part of the reason he’s limiting the placement of his own campaign signs. Commenting on what happened to Thompson, Autry said, “I will not tolerate such behavior in support of our campaign. Never have, never will.”
Thompson did manage to get a new sign, which she has placed over the old one that was vandalized. So far, she said, that new sign has not been vandalized.
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