COLUMBIA, IL (KTVI) - A family that has been under attack after they posted “Black Lives Matter” signs in their front yard is feeling some relief. Jim Read says someone poured salt damaging the grass on his lawn a few weeks ago. That same evening, the family’s “Black Lives Matter” sign disappeared. It was discovered in the neighbor's trash can along with empty salt canisters. Days before that several of the same signs were damaged or painted or destroyed outside Read’s house. Read and his wife have four children, two of their sons are African American.
On Friday Read said one of his sons said he saw a woman pouring salt on some plants. He called for his mom, she jumped in the car and took the photo of her a few blocks away. Columbia police asked for help finding her, they called her a person of interest. Late in the day they said they found her and continued to investigate.
Jim Read said, “That is the person of interest for this particular behavior.” He said that was for the most recent salt incident. But, police won’t comment. And they wouldn’t say whether she’s connected to the damage of all the 'Black Lives Matter' signs. No one has been charged with anything.
Neighbors told me they feel bad for the family. They also indicated police have been very diligent in their investigation.
Neighbor Ollie Stroh said, “Every couple of hours they patrol.” Bill Braun lives next door to Read, “I think everybody has a right of freedom of speech.” And neighbor Melba Stroh added, “They should be allowed to live their lives in peace.”'
The latest development has Jim Read and his family breathing a little easier, “Yes, kind of, it’s just still very unsettling that anything like this would happened period.”
The name of the person of interest has not been released. And again, no one has been charged with anything.