CLINTON – The Sampson County Sheriff’s Office is investigating the vandalism of a historical monument at the Sampson County Court House. Shortly after midnight this morning (Sunday), a Clinton police officer was conducting a routine business check of downtown businesses and discovered an unknown suspect or suspects had partially pulled over the historical Confederate monument that sits in front of the Sampson County Court House.
In recent weeks, several peaceful protests have occurred regarding the monument and the desire for it to relocated offsite from the Sampson County Court House.
According to a press release from Sheriff’s Lt. Marcus Smith, “While we respect and advocate for all citizens’ First Amendment Rights to peacefully protest, as a society we must equally ensure that the rule of law is carefully followed. As a Sheriff’s Office, it is our responsibility to enforce all laws; to include vandalism– and vandalism is a crime. There is a legal process to follow for things in-which we may disagree with and in this instance, proper procedures were overstepped, the law was ignored and a criminal act occurred.”
“As we move forward with our investigation, we ask for patients and understanding on this sensitive issue. Make no mistake, as a Sheriff’s Office we will not tolerate lawlessness and will work closely with the city of Clinton and the District Attorney’s Office to seek full prosecution for those responsible,” the press release stated.
Anyone having information regarding the vandalism is encouraged to contact the Sampson County Sheriff’s Office at 910-592-4141.
The damaged statute portion of the monument was removed Sunday and taken to an undisclosed location.
Photos courtesy The Sampson Independent