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Racist pair found guilty of vandalizing monument honouring enslaved people who built UNC, fined $1,326

September 13, 2019 at 11:14 am | News

Theodora Aidoo

Theodora Aidoo | Staff Writer

September 13, 2019 at 11:14 am | News

31-year-old Air Force veteran Ryan Barnett and 50-year-old grandmother Nancy McCorkle. Pic credit: UNC Police

Two persons have been found guilty of vandalizing a table commemorating enslaved people who built University of North Carolina Chapel Hill.

31-year-old Air Force veteran Ryan Barnett and 50-year-old grandmother Nancy McCorkle have both been found guilty of injury to real property, with Barnett also being guilty of public urination and indecent exposure.

They were charged with ethnic intimidation, but Orange County District Court Judge Lunsford Long dismissed it, saying: “My belief is they are not guilty of ethnic intimidation. I think they intended to intimidate a whole race of people, not a person.”

In the early hours of March 2019, the two visited the university’s Unsung Founders Memorial and used magic markers to write: “Fuck this monument!!! Destroy this monument to racism!!!”, “Confederate lives matter!!!” “Yankee go home, antifa sucks.” “Racist—faggots—niger”.

They went on to an outdoor art installation close to Hanes Art Center and wrote: “Maya Little is a domestic terrorist! Tear this down!!!”, “Fuck Lindsay Ayling. Fuck her white supremacy!!!” And, “Fuck antifa and BLM,” or Black Lives Matter while referring to two graduate students, one who helped lead the campaign to remove Silent Sam and the antiracist leader.

The two also visited the university’s System Office building, removed a one-of-a-kind UNC System flag, and ran up a Confederate flag in its place.

The following day, a photograph of the duo was widely shared in the news media, holding up the UNC flag during a rally and protesting an appearance by Palestinian-American activist Linda Sarsour in Hillsborough.

A UNC police officer testified that he called McCorkle to notify her that the department had a criminal summons against her, and mentioned that he had seen photos of her with the flag. “She said it was her flag,” the officer testified.

Barnett and McCorkle were charged in April and ordered to remain off the UNC campus or face trespassing charges. They also declined an invitation from the judge to explain their actions, according to IndyWire.

McCorkle’s lawyer told the judge that his client “has a very positive relationship with African Americans,” adding that two of her grandchildren are biracial. Neither defendant had a previous criminal record, according to prosecutor Billy Massengale.

The district court judge ordered them to reimburse UNC-Chapel Hill $1,326 in costs for labor and supplies to remove the graffiti from the two monuments.

They were sentenced to two hundred hours of community service and a $500 fine each, with eighteen months of unsupervised probation. If they violate probation, the two could serve ninety days in jail, according to Independent Weekly.

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