Barry Binkley Jr. flew the Confederate flag at his home in Glasgow, Delaware, for more than 15 years but it was recently stolen and his property was graffitied.
“(Expletive) u racist” was scrawled on the side of Binkley’s boat between late July 7 and the morning of July 8, The News Journal reported. Binkley said he isn’t racist, but displayed the flag because it connects him to his loved ones in the South.
A window in Binkley’s truck was also broken, but a Confederate banner in his garage wasn’t disturbed.
“It’s my freedom to hang what flag I want to fly,” Binkley told NBC Philadelphia. “You can hang yours in your yard. I can hang mine in mine.”
New Castle County Police Officer Tracey Duffy said the vandalism didn’t constitute a hate crime because racial slurs were used, but the incident is being investigated as theft and criminal mischief.
The incident hasn’t deterred Binkley — he plans to fly another Confederate flag.
“Will there be another one flying? Damn sure there will be,” he said. Still, he added, he’s willing to listen to anyone who’s offended by the display.
Debate over the flag has increased after the murder of nine black churchgoers in Charleston, South Carolina. The alleged shooter, 21-year-old Dylann Roof, appeared online in photos waving a Confederate flag, which many believe is a symbol of racism and prejudice.