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Elon University professor captures racist behavior as Trump supporters parade in Alamance County

Posted September 21, 2020 11:18 p.m. EDT
Updated September 22, 2020 9:39 a.m. EDT

A caravan of President Donald Trump's supporters shouted slurs and other obscenities at bystanders this past weekend during a parade in Alamance County.

The Trump supporters drove through the streets of Alamance County on Saturday in a parade organized by the Young Republicans of North Carolina and the Taking Back Alamance County group.

“That day, all I could think of was to grab a sign and pick up a camera," said Megan Squire, a professor at Elon University.

Squire, who said she supports the Black Lives Matter movement, recorded some of the parade. She said the president's supporters saw her "Black Lives Matter" sign and yelled "No they don't," along with various obscenities.

Her video, posted to Twitter, also shows at least one shout of "white power!"

"They saw my sign and said, 'No they don't,' because it said Black Lives Matter," she said.

T.L. Mann, the chairman for the Young Republicans of Alamance County, released the following statement on Monday:

“I find any use of ethnic slurs or insults atrocious. Racism has no place in our country. I believe that all people are created equally and beautifully made in the image of God. I detest all forms of racism and pray that God changes hearts and makes all Americans learn how to love one another again. Anyone who says anything that horrible should be ashamed of themselves. I would not condone it or any form of racism in my presence. That being said, I did not ride in the 'convoy.' I went to get my oil changed. Any type of racism will not be tolerated in my meetings/events, including the Confederate flag, racial slurs and any type of insults.”

Squire said she was the only one there taking a stand and said she thinks was part of the reason she got so much backlash.

"Sometimes, when there's a bigger group, they wouldn't act out quite so much if they see several cameras or news cameras. Because I was standing alone, they felt like they could bully me a little bit," she said.

Squire identified a handful of Republican elected officials at the event, including state Rep. Dennis Riddell, who drove his truck in the caravan with a large campaign sign in the truck bed. Riddell, R-Alamance, said he didn't hear any of the shouts and that he was surprised and disappointed to find out about them.

"I've seen the video and I'm just ... that does no good for anyone ever to say things like that," he said. "I strongly condemn that kind of language."

Riddell said he mingled in the crowd before the caravan, and "I didn't see a Confederate flag, I didn't see anything about white power." He said he left the caravan after seeing a truck with Confederate flags.

Squire initially said on Twitter that state Rep. Stephen Ross, R-Alamance, was in the convoy, but Ross told WRAL News he was at the coast over the weekend for his daughter's wedding. He said he didn't know who drove a truck in the parade with one of his campaign signs attached to it.

Squire acknowledged the mistake and called on Ross to "tell your supporters to knock it off – publicly."

Said Ross: "That kind of thing fits nowhere. Nowhere.”

When Squire posted about the incident on Twitter, she got a lot of positive feedback and maybe even opened the door to a bigger conversation.

"There's a lot of people that don't know what to do, and they see stuff around them that's happening and they don't know how to act," she said. "So I hoped they can see it doesn't take much – just go out with a sign and do something."

WRAL Statehouse Reporter Travis Fain contributed to this report.

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