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Trump sign arsonist confesses to police, facing misdemeanors and civil lawsuit
James D. White Jr. is facing two counts of misdemeanor Injury to Real Property, as well as a lawsuit from the sign's owner
James D. White Jr., who was publicly identified as the cyclist who set fire to Trump signs at a Raleigh home, has confessed to both incidents of arson and been issued a citation for two misdemeanor charges, as reported by the News & Observer. The police reportedly referred to White as "polite", "cooperative", and "remorseful".
White was caught on video immolating a "Trump Won" in the yard of John Kane, a prominent Republican activist, in the early morning hours of August 15th and 18th. Just three days before, on August 12th, White had also been caught on video unsuccessfully kicking the sign repeatedly as he rolled by on his bicycle.
After Wake District Attorney Lorrin Freeman's announcement that White would be charged with two counts of a Class 1 misdemeanor (Injury to Real Property), Kane posted a video criticizing Freeman (a Democrat) as a "regime apparatchik", arguing that White should have been charged with a Class H felony, Burning of Personal Property.
Misdemeanor sentencing guidelines in North Carolina establish 1-45 days of "community punishment" for a first-time Class 1 misdemeanor offender, as compared to a minimum of 4-15 months of "community", "intermediate", or "active" punishment as per the sentencing guidelines for a Class H felon.
According to Kane, the DA's office did not reach out to keep him informed of either the charging decision or the actual citation taking place. But, as he told This Week in the Triangle, Kane "wasn't expecting common decency"; according to him, DA Freeman "made it clear" through this charging decision that he and his family are "fair game" because their "political opinions don't align".
Civil Lawsuit: Kane v. White
In addition to the criminal charges, Kane has filed a civil lawsuit against White, including the following counts:
trespass to land
trespass to chattel
intentional infliction of emotional distress
invasion of privacy
The complaint contains the factual evidence identifying White as the arsonist we previously reported on, that White uploaded GPS logs of the bicycle rides on the three days that he stopped at Kane's sign, as well as photos of him with tattoos and equipment matching video of the arsonist (though this evidence is less relevant, given the news that he confessed under police questioning):
If you're interested further analysis of the civil lawsuit, check out this video by a Raleigh lawyer (Southern Law)