JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A Westside resident whose Donald Trump yard sign was vandalized in broad daylight says things have gotten out of hand this election season.
Robert Ellison said it's bigger than just the couple of dollars the sign is worth. He has lived with his family in the quiet community for decades and never expected the kind of behavior he recorded Tuesday night on surveillance video.
The video appears to show a red SUV pulling into his yard and a man in his late 20s or early 30s getting out.
"(He) kicks my sign down, rips it with his legs," Ellison said. "This guy apparently doesn't like Trump."
The vandalism continued as the man walked back to the sign and jumped on it several times before returning to his vehicle and driving away.
"The whole time he's doing it, he's got his left hand out, holding something, and that's when I realize he's videotaping himself the whole time as he does this," Ellison said.
It was not the first instance of political vandalism in Jacksonville in this nasty presidential race. Surveillance video showed someone using a metal trash can to smash the windows of a local Trump campaign headquarters in March. Last month a man was recorded destroying another sign on the Westside.
Ellison said things have gotten out of hand. Two of the three Trump signs he's purchased have been vandalized.
"I've never seen such a vicious election in my life," he said. "I put up yard signs every election. Sometimes I have two or three out there. In all the years, I've never had anybody do anything to my signs. Never, until now."
Ellison called police and filed a report about the vandalism. He said it's more than just a sign and the cost involved. It's about democracy and principle, even if the vandal doesn't support his candidate.
"I respect his opinion, but that doesn't give him the right to enter my property and destroy it and tarnish my beliefs and my ability to exhibit my beliefs," Ellison said.
Ellison taped one of the damaged Trump signs together and it is standing in his yard again.
"I was out last night with what little cellophane tape I had," he said. "Thank God for Scotch tape."
Ellison hopes that someone recognizes the man in the video and calls the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office at 904-630-0500.