CLEVELAND (WJW) — A number of residents in Cleveland’s Ohio City neighborhood reported over the weekend that their Joe Biden signs had been stolen, and three residents reported that their signs supporting the Black Lives Matter movement were set on fire.
Cleveland City Councilman Kerry McCormack is asking Cleveland Police to investigate the burning of the BLM signs as a hate crime, ethnic intimidation.
“People plucking yard signs here and there is something that we’ve seen forever, but burning signs like this is a different level. The fact that these were burned and let’s say some of the Biden signs were not, that tells me that the people that were doing it were targeting a specific message,” says McCormack.
Clinton Avenue homeowner Paul Sherlock took his dogs out for a walk on Sunday morning, and discovered that his Black Lives Matter sign had been stolen. Sherlock says he considers the act not only trespassing and theft, but also a violation of his right to free speech.
“My Black Lives Matter sign is not going to make people suddenly aware of Black Lives Matter, it’s saying that I support it, so I should be allowed to express that opinion,” Sherlock says.
As a result of the targeting of the signs, some Ohio City residents are moving their signs inside their homes and displaying them in them in their windows. One homeowner has already replaced the BLM sign that was burned in her front yard.
Longtime residents say the message is, “we will not be intimidated.”
“What I would guess is that they are trying to silence the voices of our community for supporting our black neighbors. We will not be silent and we will continue to support initiatives for racial justice,” McCormack says.
Ohio City Incorporated is now asking residents to check with their surveillance video from the weekend, to see if any images of the thieves and arsonists were caught on came
“I’m going to buy more signs, so you take one, I’m going to put up two, you take two, I’m going to put up four,” Sherlock says.
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