PALM BAY, Fla. (WOFL FOX 35) - Kenny Johnson and his campaign manager replaced one of his election signs Monday afternoon, along Minton Road after another had gotten defaced with a nasty racial slur there.
“So Thursday evening I received a phone call from Councilman Brian Anderson. He video called me from Facebook showing that somebody had defaced one of my signs. He showed me the sign and everything. I was in the middle of training so I was thrown off guard. I told him first and foremost ‘thank you’ for getting it,’” said Johnson.
Johnson said Councilman Anderson removed the defaced sign from the roadside and brought it Palm Bay City Hall, where his campaign manager picked it up. Seeing a racist word spray-painted across his name came as a shock to Johnson.
“It made me upset. Unfortunately, it’s still an issue in our society. Things are better in 2018, but we're still not where we need to be as a whole,” said Johnson.
Johnson, 26, grew up in Palm Bay and moved back to the Brevard County community after college. This is his first time experiencing blatant racism in his hometown.
“Children aren't born to hate, they're not born to be ignorant. It's taught. So we've got to teach otherwise and show otherwise through love,” said Johnson.
With less than two weeks left until election day, Johnson is not letting this deter him.
“I refuse to stay negative or dwell on ignorance,” said Johnson.
Instead, he's encouraging whoever defaced his sign to come talk to him.
“I would just want to have an open conversation with them honestly. I want to hear why they felt the need to write that and why they think that described me, because it didn't,” said Johnson.
The Palm Bay Police Department is now investigating the incident.