WASHINGTON ― Elliott G. Holliday, a 20-year-old junior at North Carolina State University, was leaving a friend’s house early on Sunday morning when he found his car in disarray.
“There was a chocolate milk bottle by the right rear wheel,” Holliday told The Huffington Post. “There was an open bag of Cinnamon Toast Crunch on my rear windshield, there was an Afro pick on my rear windshield and on the roof of my car there was a box of Popeyes chicken with chicken still in it.”
The incident occurred barely two days after President Donald Trump took the oath of office. That’s probably not a coincidence, Holliday said.
Trump “campaigned on race and bigotry,” Holliday argued. “I don’t want to believe that this was racially motivated. I really hope that this is some stupid college kid making ignorant decisions. However, I really can’t ignore the fact that there was a box of chicken and an Afro pick placed on my car in a vandalizing manner … I hope this isn’t racist, but I don’t want to ignore the fact that it could be.”
Holliday filed an official report with the university’s police department. Holliday’s report is considered a “university information report,” said Maj. David Kelly, since there is no indication that a crime was committed (such as damaged property or assault).
This allows NCSU to further investigate the incident and determine if it should be filed as a criminal report. The university’s Bias Incident and Response Team, which reviews incidents of bias and works with the reporting person to find a resolution, is also investigating.
“There’s nothing that was left at the scene ― such as a note or any type of hate speech, any vandalism, any property damage … to indicate a nexus between the food left at the vehicle and any implications to Trump’s election or any other issues on campus,” Kelly said. “There’s nothing that leads us to believe anything at this time.” There have been no other complaints of this nature since the election, he said
There were over 1,000 incidents of hate between Nov. 9 and Dec. 12, according to estimates from The Southern Poverty Law Center. At least 28 occurred in North Carolina and 34 percent of the crimes targeted African-Americans (The SPLC aggregates reports of hate ― many of which are anecdotal ― from news articles, social media and submissions via their #ReportHate intake page).
Trump told his supporters to “stop it” with the racist attacks during his first post-election interview in November.
Hate crimes often spike after elections ― domestic or international ― and the surge of Trump-related attacks that followed the election have tapered off. But, overall, hate crimes rose by 6 percent between 2014 and 2015, according to FBI statistics. Attacks against Muslims jumped by 67 percent, while African-Americans continued to be the most frequent victims of race-based hate crimes.
If you or anyone you know have been the victim of a similar incident, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and share your story.