HARWICH — When the political season heats up, yard signs demonstrating candidate support have been known to fall victim to political prejudice. That was the case in and around Harwich Center last weekend, with numerous campaign signs torn up and trashed.
On Sunday Selectman Ed McManus posted a photo on Facebook of his signs for U. S. Senate candidate Congressman Joseph Kennedy, County Commission candidate Mark Forest and a “Black Lives Matter” sign torn in half and strewn about his lawn. McManus said a few more political signs supporting Democratic candidates in the Harwich Center area were also damaged.
“Political rage, vandalism and hate crimes on Parallel Street in Harwich Center,” read McManus’ opening line on his Facebook page. “I’ve been involved in political campaigns long enough to know that pinching your opponents signs is one of the lowest forms of political pranks. But the level of vandalism that is going on this election season has risen to a level of irrational political rage and hate.”
One sign reads, “In our house we believe Black Lives Matter. Women’s rights are human rights. No human is illegal. Science is real. Love is love. Kindness is everything.”
“It was pretty amazing,” McManus said of the vandalism. “The signs were literally torn apart in an action of rage.”
The incident happen either Saturday night or early Sunday morning, The signs were located at the front of McManus' house. He said neighbors further down Parallel Street on the corner of South Street also had their Joe Biden for President signs trashed. They heard noises and were awaken at about 1:45 a.m. Sunday morning, he said, adding that there was another incident on Sisson Road.
When asked if McManus thought this was a primary election statement or a broader political act, he responded, “The targets seem to have been exclusively Democrats, so you can make the assumption its a broader political act.”
He brought up the incidents at the selectmen’s meeting Monday night.
“It’s sad. People don’t have their right to state their position on their front lawn,” McManus said.
“It’s non-partisan, both sides are doing it,” responded Board of Selectmen Chairman Larry Ballantine.
McManus said he reported the situation to the police department.
Sgt. Aram Goshgarian said three separate addresses reported damaged signs: Selectman McManus, his neighbor and a house on Louis Way. The vandalism occurred overnight on Aug. 8 and was reported the following morning. One location has a security camera, but it failed to capture the activity, Goshgarian said,
“We are conducting extra patrols in these areas and unfortunately do not expect this to be the last time political signs are torn down,” he said.
The signs are back up in his yard, McManus said.