Havre sees incidents of political vandalism over weekend
Last updated 10/7/2020 at 11:37am
In the past 48 hours Havre has seen three instances of what appears to be, politically motivated theft and vandalism, including the taking of Republican political signs and damage to a vendor’s property at Hill County Republican Headquarters.
Hill County Republican Central Committee Chair and Havre City Council Alderman Andrew Brekke, who said his Trump flag was torn down at 4 a.m., made a Facebook post, calling it embarrassing for the community.
“Well, the ‘mostly peaceful’ and ‘enlightened and tolerant’ among us have stepped up their game,” he said in the post.
“No matter who you support this is childish and alarming,” he said in an email.
He said he has security cameras up and caught an image of the perpetrator, but it isn’t clear enough to show who it is.
Brekke’s post said he had a message for the perpetrator — their actions will not deter his support of President Donald Trump.
“You are violating the law and you will be caught,” he said.
Hill County Democratic Central Committee Chair Rep. Jacob Bachmeier, D-Havre, said this morning that he wants the perpetrator to come forward and accept the consequences of their actions.
“Vandalism is absolutely unacceptable, everyone has a right to freedom of speech and I take that right very seriously,” Bachmeier said.
He also said he’d be willing to help the Hill County Republicans solve the problem, whether that means financial help to remedy the vandalism and loss of signs, or assisting in finding the person who did it, if possible.
He said Democratic political signs have been stolen in the past months, especially in Chinook, but that is fairly typical of election season in his experience and this year hasn’t been any better or worse.
Havre Police Officer Tanner Donovan said, due to the physical and temporal proximity of these incidents, as well as the apparent targeting of one side of the political spectrum, the department is operating under the assumption that the incidents are connected.
Donovan said the department is still investigating the incidents and following up on leads, but there are no suspects yet.
He said the damage done may require restitution, but theft would likely carry the heavier penalty.
“There’s been a little bit of vandalism but more so it would be theft, for simply taking the signs,” he said.
Donovan said so far there have been three incidents the department is aware of.