Last week in Haines, Florida, a man was reportedly seen driving a backhoe on a street in a Black neighborhood.
Several lawns were displaying signs showing support for Joe Biden in the presidential election.
The 26-year-old white man, later identified as James Blight, allegedly aimed for residences where the signs were posted and used the machine to dig up and remove them, destroying fences that were in his path.
Former Vice Mayor Adam Burgess lives on the street where the incident took place, and he reported that he watched the man steal two Biden signs from his lawn. He added that the suspect returned in a bulldozer and wrecked his fence.
Several residents reported that they watched Blight navigate down the street and unearth campaign signs with the machinery, using the front-end loader to remove them from the ground.
A resident notified the police and reported that he got into his vehicle and followed Blight as the man continued annihilating Biden signs in many other yards.
When the authorities caught up to Blight, the man reportedly said that he had been drinking and had no recollection of the things that happened that day.
Blight was taken into custody and booked into the Polk County Jail on a $7.500 bond.
He is facing charges for suspicion of grand theft auto, trespassing, criminal mischief of $1,000 or more, leaving the scene of a crash, and driving on a suspended/revoked license.
Burgess described the event as a hate crime and said, “This is America, and we do not pick our president or any other elected offices out of fear and invoking fear.”
If you or someone you love is suspected of a criminal offense, contact Orange County criminal defense lawyer Staycie R. Sena at (949) 477-8088 for a consultation now.