State News

Damaged Confederate statue may have prompted hate crime

Posted May 29, 2012

— What started as a controversy over a Confederate statue has evolved into an investigation by the FBI and the Secret Service of a suspected hate crime.

Last week, someone spray-painted "Monument is coming back" on the side of a Gibsonville auto body shop. The shop's owner, Ernie Pinnix, has been a vocal opponent of returning a Confederate statue to downtown Reidsville after a vehicle knocked the statue off its base last year.

All six tires on Pinnix's tow truck were slashed in the recent incident, and an obscene insult involving President Barack Obama was painted on his business and scratched on the truck's body.

"I will never again be able to come outside into my yard in comfort or secure in my belief that I'm safe," Pinnix said Tuesday.

Officials with the state chapter of the NAACP visited Pinnix on Tuesday in a show of support.]

Gibsonville auto shop vandalized after Confederate statue controversy Rockingham body shop vandalism investigated as hate crime

"Hateful and racially charged messages, in addition to property damage, have terrorized this family," NAACP HKonJ Coalition Coordinator Curtis Gatewood said.

The Historical Preservation Action Committee has sued several groups over the statue controversy, saying it should be returned to its former spot and not moved to a local Confederate cemetery, as Pinnix has proposed.

"When you have an accident in this country, it's restored. It's fixed," said Ira Tilley, a spokesman for the committee.

Still, Tilley was quick to condemn what happened to Pinnix.

"We do not support any group that hates in any fashion," he said.

State NAACP leaders and Pinnix said they just want justice to be served.

"I'll ask the people out there, turn yourself in so that we can get back to healing," said Perry Graves, a friend of Pinnix's.


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  • jamesstuart Jun 8, 2012

    Clearly another hoax.

  • piene2 Jun 4, 2012

    "@piene. The Nazi's hated the Confederacy.

    They did not have to like each other to be quite similar. One oppressed and murdered Jews and the other oppressed and murdered Blacks. Sadly both oppressors are alive and well even today.

  • gordonbabe Jun 1, 2012

    @floseh2; you're right.

    @piene2; you're just looking to throw gas on the fire.

    If we can celebrate our nation's history, both black & white, why does have to be a fight? We all know there are ignorant people out there; so what? Natural selection will handle them eventually.

    The American Flag AND the Confederate Flag are meaningful to our country's history. Get over yourself and realize that.

    Oh and by the way... if we don't start getting along soon; we'll be fighting over whether or not to replace the American flag with the MEXICAN flag on top of the White House!

  • brentf777 Jun 1, 2012

    Agreed jsmithcsa. This is simple vandalism / property damage and should be prosecuted as such is the offender is caught. Hate crime laws are absurd.

  • brentf777 Jun 1, 2012

    @piene. The Nazi's hated the Confederacy. They knew exactly what that flag stood for (not slavery, but decentralization and states rights) and those political beliefs were a major affront to the centralizing fascist regime of Hitler. I have heard of at least one son I believe it was of a Confederate soldier in Nazi Germany who was eventually executed for flying the Confederate flag at his home and refusing to take it down. Deo Vindice.

  • piene2 May 31, 2012

    "@piene Nazi was a form of government, the german soldier was unfortanute to be the tool of the government, but the soldier was still seperate. But the Nazi Government and the Confederate Government were very seperate from each other.

    Aside from that they both enslaved human beings. Aside from that they both had no respect for human lives. Aside from that they both considered a class of human beings sub human. And aside from that they were both dismal failures, doomed from their conception.

  • rwwiv May 31, 2012

    @piene Nazi was a form of government, the german soldier was unfortanute to be the tool of the government, but the soldier was still seperate. But the Nazi Government and the Confederate Government were very seperate from each other, only historically ignorant people would put the two together, and yes i am talking about Confederate Battle Flag waving Neo Nazis.. Southerners fought Nazis too... Historically and please look this up feel free to use google the KKK flew the US stars and stripes flag until about the 1980s. Since the 1980s the Klan pretty much has withered to a few confused nazi seperatists.
    Confederate Soldiers on a whole were not fighting to keep Blacks in slavery but to repel what they saw as a foreign invader. This veteran Buisness man who openly resists the statue is guilty of hate himself and I wish people could realize that.. The only reason that he sees it as a symbol of hate is because he has been educated to believe that, and or he saw alot of movies where rebel

  • jsmithcsa May 31, 2012

    piene's irrelevent comments notwithstanding, when did vandalism about the return of a monument become a hate crime? Unless there's something missing in this report, the vandal (who belongs in jail, IMHO, but for vandalism) stated the statue will return (is that hateful?), his tires were slashed (is that hateful?), and comments regarding the President were keyed into his truck (is that hateful?). I want to be very clear -- vandalism is a crime that should be punished. But vandalism in and of itself is not a "hate crime" -- if it were, there would be long list of folks in the docket awaiting hate crimes trials.

  • donkeypendergraph May 30, 2012

    Your bigot remarks about the confederate flag are out of line. The flag doesnt resemble KKK or any other racist paradigm you want to put on it. It simply shows you need education. maybe we should associate hoodies with black people and skittles. Dont tread on our proud History or flag. Im Cherokee and as far as im concerned you all can go home. white and purple. The only reason black people vote for hussien barrack imposter from kenya is becouse of his skin color. now thats insane! and racist!

  • piene2 May 30, 2012

    "I believe we should respect our Confederate Ancesters the same as the slave ancesters. Not looking for a fight, just equal justice. The Floseh floseh2"

    Casting a slightly wider net, do you think the German people should be honoring their Nazi Ancestors?