Trending Topics

Racist Vandals Found Guilty of Defacing Monument Honoring Enslaved People Who Built UNC

A year or so after a national push to remove Confederate monuments seemed to have quelled, two neo-Confederates decided to vandalize a table commemorating enslaved people who built University of North Carolina Chapel Hill earlier this year. On Friday, the people responsible were found guilty of their charges.

On Sept. 6, Ryan Barnett and Nancy McCorkle were found guilty of injury to real property, with Barnett also being guilty of public urination and indecent exposure, according to Independent Weekly. They each had also been charged with ethnic intimidation, but Orange County District Court Judge Lunsford Long dismissed it saying, “My belief is they are not guilty of ethnic intimidation. I think they intended to intimidate a whole race of people, not a person.”

Nancy McCorkle (left) and Ryan Barnett (right). (Photos: UNC Police)

McCorkle, a 50-year-old grandmother, and 31-year-old Barnett, an Air Force veteran who served in Afghanistan in 2013, headed to UNC’s Chapel Hill campus on the night of March 31. Once there, they took aim at the Unsung Founders Memorial as well as an outdoor art installation close to Hanes Art Center. The vandals scrawled racist graffiti on the monument which read among other things, “Racist—faggots—niger”, “Confederate lives matter!!!” and “F–k this monument!!! Destroy this monument to racism!!!”

The founders memorial is a round table installed on UNC’s campus in 2005. At one point McCorkle and Barnett also removed a university flag from the UNC System Office and replaced it with a Confederate one. The next day, they showed up bearing the UNC flag at a rally in Hillsborough, N.C., protesting Palestinian-American activist Linda Sarsour.

But they did not stop there.

In addition to using a marker to write their messages, they headed to the art exhibit spewing more racist remarks.

Unsung Founders Memorial the day after the vandalism, when students re-dedicated it. (Photo: Sarah Krueger/@WRALSarah Twitter)

“Maya Little is a domestic terrorist! Tear this down!!!” read one remark that took aim at a graduate student who was part of the push to remove the now-fallen Confederate statue Silent Sam. They also took aim at another graduate student activist as well as grassroots organization Black Lives Matter and wrote, “F–k Lindsay Ayling. F–k her white supremacy!!!” And, “F–k antifa and BLM.”

After the duo was charged in April, the News & Observer reported they were ordered to remain off UNC campus or they’d face trespassing charges.

Although Long invited the vandals into court Friday in order to explain what they did this spring, both McCorkle and Barnett, who each turned down a plea deal in August, declined to do so, according to IndyWire.

Long fined Barnett and McCorkle each $500 and sentenced them to complete 200 hours of community service. They’re also required to pay UNC-Chapel Hill $1,326 for the costs of removing the graffiti they spread on the monument and the art exhibit. Barnett’s public urination and indecent exposure also led to a $100 fine against him. Additionally, both vandals have 18 months of unsupervised probation that could lead to 90 days in jail if violated.

What people are saying

Back to top