A Florida man was arrested for allegedly stealing a bulldozer from a construction site and wreaking havoc in a neighborhood in Haines City. James Blight, 26, has been charged with grand theft auto and trespassing, but some residents want him charged with a hate crime for targeting political signs for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris.
"This man came onto my property, took the two Joe Biden signs I had in my yard, and then came back with a bulldozer to run down my fence," former vice Mayor Adam Burgess told Bay News 9. "Why bring that to our neighborhood? This is a predominantly Black neighborhood, and you're coming over here with that? That's not right."
Cornelius Marion witnessed Blight digging up the lawn signs and got in his truck to follow him.
"I jumped into my truck and called 911 and followed him along, and the whole time he's riding down the road, he's yelling at people, cussing them out," Marion continued, alleging that the suspect told one person at an intersection, "I'm going to run you over."
When police took Blight into custody, he claimed that he had been drinking whiskey all day. He admitted to running over the signs but said it wasn't intentional because he didn't know how to operate the heavy machinery. He also knocked down a speed limit sign and several other road signs in the area.
"It's absurd that a grown man could think he had the right to destroy someone else's property based on a difference in political opinion. The fact that he was driving this heavy equipment, that he did not know how to operate, down busy roads could have been disastrous. We're thankful that no one was hurt in this matter," Haines City Police Chief Jim Elensky said.
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