Wednesday afternoon, the Chairman of the Johnston County Board of Commissioners asked the Johnston County Sheriff’s Office to investigate burnings of his political signs.
Tony Braswell said he received photos on Tuesday from the NC Federation of College Republicans (NCFCR) of several candidates signs being burned, reportedly Friday night or Saturday night in Johnston County.
The images reportedly show campaign signs of DeVan Barbour for County Commissioner and Johnston County Sheriff Steve Bizzell being burned.
Braswell said he was initially told on Tuesday none of his political signs were involved. On Wednesday, the chairman said he received additional photos of the sign burnings from the NCFCR and his signs were shown. Braswell said assurances he received Tuesday that his signs were not involved was untrue.
“Clearly that was not correct, and after receiving further pictures from NCFCR my campaign signs were involved, which means they were removed from some other location without my permission and burned,” Braswell said in a release to the local media. “Based on this new information from NCFCR I now call on the Sheriff of Johnston County to conduct a criminal investigation into the events and actions of these individuals.”
The NC Federation of College Republicans (NCFCR), who notified Braswell and the other candidates about the incident, are involved because two of their members were allegedly connected to the incident. One is reportedly a student at NC State and the other at Campbell University.
Zach Almond, State Chairman of the NCFCR confirmed the authenticity of the photos. “Those images were bought to my attend a few days ago. I didn’t see all the images until Monday,” Almond told WTSB News. “It depicted images of signs being burned with slogans that were not necessarily positive towards other Republican candidates, and defacing other candidates signs.”
Hayden Duncan, Vice Chairman of the NCFCR said, “This is an extremely unfortunate event, and we in no way condone such destructive behavior. At this time we have disavowed both individuals and their actions. These actions are in no way representative of either Campbell or NC State College Republicans or befitting of the standards of NCFCR. Additionally, we have called on both individuals to resign from their individual College Republican chapters in any capacity, and issue an immediate apology to all candidates who had signage destroyed.”
Duncan added, “We cannot have the actions of a few rogue individuals ruin the reputation of a couple of chapters and that come back on the state federation.”
Duncan said the organization believes some of the signs that were burned were “brand new.”
Efforts to reach Vice Chairman DeVan Barbour for a comment were not successful.