Roanoke Rapids man remorseful about vandalism at monument, claims it was art, police say

ROANOKE RAPIDS, N.C. (WNCN) — A man charged with vandalizing a monument told Roanoke Rapids police that the graffiti was an “expression of art.”

Police charged 23-year-old Diante Devon Hockaday, of Roanoke Rapids, as the person who sprayed the graffiti on the Sarah Key Evans monument.

Police said the monument’s brick wall was spray-painted between Nov. 9 and 10.

Hockaday was remorseful, police said. He is charged with injury to real property.

(Roanoke Rapids Police Dept.)

He was released on a criminal summons to appear in court on Dec. 15.

The graffiti has been removed and the Sarah Key Evans committee has been notified.

Keys, who passed away Thursday, is recognized as a civil rights pioneer. In August 1952, she took a bus from Trenton, N.J., to her home in Washington, N.C., according to Time magazine. It was her first visit home since joining the military.

The bus stopped in Roanoke Rapids around midnight to change drivers. The new driver told Keys to give up her seat for a white Marine. She refused.

Everyone had to get off the bus, and the driver let everyone get on another bus except Keys who was arrested and led away to a police car by two officers.

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