We discussed campaigns against Lincoln statues as well as the destruction of such statues. The most recent example is in Boise, Idaho, where former Boise State University associate professor Terry Wilson, 37, was arrested for defacing a Lincoln statue. Previously, he was a spokesperson for Black Lives Matter in Boise. Both BLM and Antifa groups were reportedly involved in defacing the statue.
While academics are rarely involved in such destructive protests, other professors have supported such criminal acts, including Professor Sarah Parchak of the University of Alabama, who gave instructions for the overthrow of such monuments. As we discussed earlier, a professor called for more Trump supporters to be killed. Another asked for the police to be strangled. Rhode Island professor Erik Loomis, who writes for Lawyers, Guns and Money, said he saw “nothing wrong” with the murder of a Conservative protester – a view defended by other academics.
Police reported that Seated Lincoln was splattered with red paint and feces. A Black Lives Matter flag was wrapped around his neck and the signs around the statue read “Defund the Police” and “The prison industrial complex is modern slavery.”
Wilson was identified by the police through “both physical and electronic evidence”. When they reached out to Wilson with an arrest warrant, he reportedly fled but was captured. The report said he was “in possession of a firearm, marijuana and drug paraphernalia”.
Wilson was an associate professor at the BSU until December. As a graduate of the BSU’s School of Public Service, he taught general education courses at university foundations in the state of Boise. He also had a Twitter account, Exegesis Joe, who campaigned to defuse the police and other reasons.
I previously disagreed with the campaign to remove Lincoln statues. However, we can have civil and productive debates on this story. This kind of passionate and informed debate defines our colleges and universities as educational institutions. It is for this reason that it is particularly worrying to see current or former scholars support these destructive protests.
For Wilson he is now looking at a number of charges. Ordinarily, a defense attorney would look for a bargain to cut the drug count in favor of one or two pleas. It is not clear whether Wilson would accept such a plea, which usually involves an express apology and acceptance of responsibility. Wilson’s Twitter account shows someone with long-held and deep-seated views that may make it harder for a defense attorney to get such a public statement. It is possible to reach an agreement without such admission, but it can reduce the inclination of the court to sentence the client within the recommended range of the cause of action.