We have been discussing campaigns against Lincoln statues as well as the destruction of such statues. The latest example is in Boise, Idaho where former Boise State University adjunct professor Terry Wilson, 37, has been arrested for defacing a Lincoln statue. He has previously served as a spokesperson for Black Lives Matter in Boise. Both BLM and Antifa groups were reportedly involved in the defacing of the statue.
While it is rare for academics to be involved in such destructive protests, other professors have supported such criminal acts including Professor Sarah Parchak at the University of Alabama who supplied instructions on how to topple such monuments. As we have also previously discussed, one professor called for more Trump supporters to be killed. Another called for strangling police. Rhode Island Professor Erik Loomis, who writes for the site Lawyers, Guns, and Money, said he saw “nothing wrong” with the killing of a conservative protester — a view defended by other academics.
According to the police report, “Seated Lincoln” was splattered with red paint and feces. A Black Lives Matter flag was wrapped around its neck and signs around the statue read, “Defund the police,” and, “The prison industrial complex is modern day slavery.”
Wilson was identified by the police through “both physical and electronic evidence.” When they approached Wilson with an arrest warrant, he reportedly fled but was captured. The report states that he was “found to be in possession of a firearm, marijuana and drug paraphernalia.”
Until December, Wilson worked as an adjunct professor at BSU. A graduated of BSU’s School of Public Service, he taught University Foundations general education courses at Boise State. He also maintained a Twitter account Exegesis Joe that advocated for defunding the police and other causes.
I have previously disagreed with the campaign to remove Lincoln statues. However, we can have civil and productive debates about that history. That type of passionate and informed debate is what defines our colleges and universities as educational institutions. For that reason, it is particularly distressing to see current or former academics supporting these destructive protests.
For Wilson, he is now looking at an array of charges. Ordinarily, a defense attorney would be looking for a plea bargain to drop the drug counts in favor on a one or two count plea. It is not clear if Wilson would accept such a plea which ordinarily involves an express apology and acceptance of responsibility. Wilson’s Twitter account shows someone with long stated and deeply seated views that may make such a public statement more difficult for defense counsel to secure. It is possible to reach a deal without such an admission, but it can reduce the inclination of the court to sentence the client within the recommended range of the plea.