Durham County

Anti-Trump, pro-immigrant signs burned in Durham neighborhood

Beverly Tucker thought she smelled a campfire when she walked out her door Thursday morning.

Then she looked to her left and saw her anti-Trump yard sign, burned to a metal frame with charred pieces melting off.

Then when she returned from taking her boxer Candie to doggy daycare, she saw someone stomping on embers in her neighbor’s yard.

In total, four signs in three yards were burned on Englewood Avenue in the Watts Hospital-Hillandale neighborhood, between Broad Street and Hillandale Road.

The sign in Tucker’s yard had said, “He’s not my president. Impeach Trump.”

A second sign in her yard was reduced to the metal holder in scorched earth. The green, blue and orange sign had said, “No matter where you are from, we’re glad you’re our neighbor,” in Spanish, English and Arabic.

“I was kind of shocked,” said Susan Orovitz, who woke up around 8 a.m. to a neighbor banging on her door to tell her about the smoldering remains of her “glad you’re my neighbor” sign.

Orovitz, 68, a clinical psychologist, reported the incident to police, and later hosed down the area a few feet from her wooden front porch. Someone had to walk through her yard to torch the sign.

“I feel violated,” she said. “It’s my space.”

A fourth yard sign that said “Impeach Trump” in a third resident’s yard just had black burn marks stretching up from the bottom.

Other similar signs on the street and in the neighborhood were left alone.

Tucker, a public health consultant, said she was irritated by the burning of the signs.

“Part of being an American is being able to have freedom of speech. That’s a right,” she said. “You may not agree with what I say, but I have the right to say it. And you have a right to disagree. But you don’t have a right to come on my property and destroy stuff.”

The police officer who visited Tucker’s home after she reported it said there have been other vandalism involving both Republican and Democratic messages.

“We talked about the need for folks to just be tolerant,” Tucker said.

Police spokeswoman Kammie Michael said no other sign-burning incidents were reported to police, and the department doesn’t track political vandalism.

After the November political election, someone wrote “Black Lives Don’t Matter and neither does your votes” on a wall next to JC’s Kitchen on the corner of Main and Fayetteville streets. Community members held a crowdfunding campaign to paint a community mural on the wall.

Tucker said the vandalism won’t silence her.

“I am buying more signs,” she said.

Virginia Bridges: 919-829-8924, @virginiabridges