“These are people that carry around automatic weapons.”
According to a police affidavit, Memphis officers responded to a vandalism call at a local Walmart. John Hopper, the disabled owner of the Ford F-150, which was parked in a handicap space, returned to find someone had spray-painted the word “Nazi” across the back window and passenger side of the truck.
Surveillance footage showed a suspect, later identified as 31-year-old Heather Waddell, fleeing the scene in a silver Chrysler Pacifica.
Waddell was taken into custody shortly after, later admitting to the crime in a written statement to police.
“I saw a truck with a couple of Pro Trump Stickers,” said Waddell, according to the affidavit.
“The sticker carries its own weight in white supremacy. With a sign on a car that says ‘Proud of Trump,’ these are people that carry around automatic weapons,” Waddell said in the affidavit.
She caused nearly $2,000 in damage to the vehicle.
“There’s no reason for this. He’s a nice man and this is just pure hate,” Hopper’s son-in-law told told local outlet WREG. “He’s had those stickers on his truck for years.”
Many media outlets have catalogued a rise in right-wing and white supremacist violence and harassment ever since Trump’s election. Conservatives, however, have pushed back. Firstly, by questioning the methodology used in categorizing violent attackers as “right-wing,” and secondly, by arguing that politically motivated violence and harassment isn’t a one-sided affair.
Waddell’s act of vandalism is only the latest in a string of incidents of harassment against supporters of the president, which many might see as a reflection of the highly-charged and polarized American political climate.
In February, a woman who attacked a man wearing a “Make America Great Again” hat was found to have immigrated to the United States illegally and was deported. A month earlier, a liberal comedian drew attention to herself by offering oral sex to anyone who punched Covington Catholic High School student Nick Sandmann in the face. She was subsequently exposed for lying about writing for “Saturday Night Live.” Another woman was forced into hiding by the negative attention she received from berating an elderly Trump supporter in a California Starbucks.