Wednesday, September 28, 2022

FBI Enters Meredith Statue Vandalism Case

 

Meredith Statue 005
A single rose marks the scene where the James Meredith Statue was defaced.

HottyToddy.com has learned the FBI has entered the investigation of the defacement of the James Meredith statue on the Ole Miss campus early Sunday morning.
Mark McMillan, the insulation company contractor who found the vandalized statue, told HT.com that he had been interviewed by the FBI only hours before the Web Site contacted him around 1 p.m. today.
McMillan, from Saulsbury, Tenn., told HottyToddy.com that because of his FBI discussions he might not be able to say much (to HottyToddy.com), but that he would say what he could.
McMillan then explained how he found the statue around 6:45 a.m. Sunday morning with a rope tied around the statue’s neck secured to a nearby drain grate. A flag bearing the Confederate Stars and Bars was draped around the shoulders. He said he didn’t recognize the flag.
The flag was later identified as the Georgia state flag prior to 2002, when it was changed due to public protest against its Confederate stars and bars design.
“The flag was neatly folded like a cape around the statue’s shoulders,” McMillan said.  “I didn’t touch it or the rope, but a janitor came by and called the police.”
McMillan told University Police that he observed two young white men in the area yelling racial slurs and proclaiming “white power.”
HT.com contacted University Police Chief Calvin Sellers who said the $25,000 reward offered by the Ole Miss Alumni Association had generated “a lot of leads. But none, as yet, has panned out,” he added. Sellers confirmed that police had the Georgia state flag and the rope, but that no forensic evidence had been found.
Sellers confirmed that the FBI has been on campus working with University Police. Sellers said that the agency is looking into the possibility that the vandalism would qualify as a hate crime under federal guidelines.
Mayor Pat Patterson voiced the city’s support of the Ole Miss community. “We completely support Chancellor Jones’  statement and stand  behind the University in this matter,” Mayor Patterson said. “There is simply no place in the Oxford/University Community for this type of hatred.”
Douglass Sullivan-González, Dean of the Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College commented on the incident during remarks this morning. “Our University represents the frontline of engagement in today’s battle for diversity and inclusivity in the American dream,” he said. “The Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College will attract those high performers who are ready to be transformative citizen scholars in a difficult world. Those with weaker hearts will seek safety elsewhere.”
 

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