The mayor of Newkirk said his family has been harassed and threatened since a national newspaper misquoted him and connected him to the violence at the U.S. Capitol, but he said what’s happened now goes beyond anything he ever imagined.
The desecration comes after a week of threats to Newkirk Mayor Brian Hobbs and his family, but he said taking out anger on his family gravestones goes too far.
"That's one of the most horrific things I think you can do to a person," he said.
Hobbs believes the desecration of his family's gravesites is the latest act of intimidation, following a week of threats.
"Threats made against me, threats made against my city, there's been things thrown in my yard, it's absolutely intimidation," Hobbs said.
He said the threats started after a national newspaper misquoted him and falsely linked him to the January 6th violence at the nation's Capitol. He said he strongly condemns the violence.
"You know all kinds of vitriol around something I didn't even do or say," Hobbs said. "To a degree when I became an elected official, I signed up for this, but not to have my family terrorized, and not to have my property destroyed."
The damage was only done to Hobbs's family gravesites. He found out about it when a city worker drove by and saw the broken flags. Hobbs said no other surrounding gravesites were damaged, only those of his relatives.
"They've desecrated my grandfather's grave, they've desecrated my great uncle's grave. My uncle, my grandmother. You know, two World War Two veterans," he said.
The damage has been repaired and the flags have been replaced, but it still leaves a mark on Hobbs and his family.
"Threatening people's families, terrifying my children, and my wife, that's unacceptable. It needs to stop," he said.
Hobbs said he's filed a report with the Newkirk police.