COLUMBIA, IL (KPLR) - Neighbors of a woman who has been charged with vandalizing several “Black Lives Matter” signs are dumbfounded by the accusations.
It’s confusing to everyone, especially the family that has been dealing with all the vandalism in Columbia, Illinois. Jim Read lives in the home where the vandal has been attacking. He said, “We couldn’t be more proud of the Columbia, Illinois Police Department and their diligence and their response. His family was grateful authorities have charged 63-year-old Kathryn Stout with 4 counts of criminal damage to property and one count of disorderly conduct. Read said, “To go from black lives to matter to saying all lives matter to using dead animals to convey that message it just doesn’t fit.”
Read and his wife adopted two African-American sons several years ago and have never had any racial problems until they put a black lives matter sign in their front yard. Since then the signs have been vandalized, damaged and stolen. Their yard and plants have been salted; a dead animal was left on their property. Police believe Stout is responsible. The crimes have folks upset.
Stout lives in the next neighborhood over from the Read family. Her husband said neither he nor she had a comment. Neighbors told me they can’t believe stout was involved in the crimes. They said she’s very religious, has raised money for an overseas orphanage, did ministry work in South Korea and welcomed a Nigerian exchange student into their home.
Read said, “It’s really hard to wrap our minds around it especially when we found out she was 63-years-old that there’s just so many pieces that seem so unusual.”
If Stout is found guilty Jim Read doesn’t want her to go to jail but instead do community service. He said, “I think something that would be more appropriate would to be involved in an endeavor somewhere in the community where she’s forced to live in and among the message of why black lives matter.”
Kathryn Stout is due in court the morning of November 19th. Jim Read said his neighbors have been very supportive through the ordeal. It’s brought people together and they are all planning a block party.