In light of the recent burning of Black Lives Matter signs in Morris, Stevens County Attorney Aaron Jordan has written a public letter to remind citizens that it is a crime to take or destroy political signs from a yard. Jordan noted that some of the crimes that could be charged include theft, criminal damage to property and arson. If the intention was to target someone based on their race, religion or sexual orientation, or if the intent was to cause fear of bodily harm or terrorize another person, additional charges could be filed. Penalties start at a misdemeanor punishable by up to 90 days in jail or a $1,000 fine, or both, and could in some circumstances go to a felony offense.
“Some go out of their way to cause fear of the ‘others,’” wrote Jordan. “I, for one, don’t want to see that type of anger and intolerance here in Stevens County.”
“Political debate should be vigorous,” he continued. “But in expressing those views we need to stay within the confines of the law. Attempting to stifle another person’s views by stealing or destroying their political signs is an attack on democracy. Burning them in the middle of the night is cowardice.”