STAFFORD, Va. - There is still opposition to a large Confederate flag flying over Interstate 95 in Stafford County even though the county has ruled the flag can stay where it is. However, someone has vandalized the flag pole it sits on as the property owner discovered spray paint and other damage over the weekend.
Dripping black letters were left behind by vandals at the bottom of Hubert Wayne Cash's 80-foot flag pole. Above flies a 30-by-30 foot Confederate flag in the center of an ongoing county controversy.
"Mr. Cash had observed some vandalism on the flag pole," said Amanda Vicinanzo, spokesperson for the Stafford County Sheriff's Office. "There were in spray paint the words, 'take it down' and 'racist.' There was also some damage to the rope that is used to hoist the flag. There is also a plaque that says 'Virginia' that is on the flag pole, and it seemed like there had been an attempt to remove that plaque, but they were unsuccessful."
FOX 5 spoke with Cash about the Confederate flag that sits on his property back in September.
"We are just trying to preserve our history and honor our ancestors," he said. "We are southerners. This is the South."
Investigators believe the vandalism happened sometime between Sept. 24 and Oct. 1. Security cameras have now been installed on Cash's property to keep watch.
Tempers flared last month when Stafford County Attorney Charles Shumate made the decision that Cash could continue to fly the Confederate flag in his backyard where it is visible to drivers along Interstate 95.
"It really is a very frightening and visceral reaction people have to that flag," said Susan Kosior.
Last week, Kosior successfully petitioned to fly her own similar sized "Black Lives Matter" flag in her southern Stafford County yard.
Kosior issued this statement after the Confederate flag vandalism that reads in part:
"I condemn in the strongest possible terms the vandalism that occurred to the flag pole on the Cash property. I have worked tirelessly the last seven weeks to use the system to legally combat the I-95 flag in our community. This type of behavior only sets back our work for justice and our cause for peace."
Cash's next door neighbor said the vandals also damaged her mailbox in a similar fashion.
The person responsible for the crime is facing vandalism and trespassing charges and could face up to a year in jail.