One year after the firebombing case at the Orange GOP Headquarters in Hillsborough was opened, an anarchist is in contempt of a Federal Grand Jury and no arrests have been made.
A joint statement made by the NC GOP and Orange GOP, asking for support on the anniversary of the “domestic terror attack” on the Orange GOP office:
We need all hands on deck to protest this deliberate, heinous crime, to thank the community, to highlight our resiliency and recovery, and to continue to call out for folks to come forward with information pertaining to this arsonist attack on our Orange County Republican Headquarters.
The NC state government is offering a $5,000 reward and the NC GOP has a matching $5,000 for a total reward of $10,000 leading to those with information or accountable for the firebombing of the OCNCGOP Headquarters. They must be brought to justice.
Currently a Federal Grand Jury has a suspect, Katie Yow, a local anarchist and political activist. She is being brought before the convening Grand Jury in Greensboro. So far, Yow has refused to provide any assistance on the arson attack and should be in jail, not out on bond. We have been attempting to find out the status of the Grand Jury investigation being conducted by the US Middle Attorney’s office in Greensboro.
At 11 a.m. today, the NC GOP and Orange GOP will be holding a press conference to mark the anniversary of the attack. The press conference will take place at the Orange GOP’s headquarters and site of the attack last year at 347 Ja-Max Drive in Hillsborough.
About the Firebombing Attack
According to the FBI and other law enforcement officials, the firebombing occurred sometime between midnight and 8:54 a.m. on October 16th. A 911 call was made by a nearby business owner altering authorities.
In addition to arson, a threat was also spray painted on the adjacent building which read, “Republican Nazi’s leave town or else” and a Nazi swastika was also drawn.
According to a public request for help in the case by the FBI, multiple agencies were still working on the case. Those agencies include the Hillsborough Police Department, FBI, SBI, Orange County Sheriff’s Office, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the U.S. Secret Service.
The FBI plea for public help is still active and anyone with information about the firebombing and graffiti should contact the Hillsborough Police Department’s tip line at (919) 732-3975 or the FBI’s Charlotte Division at (704) 672-6100, option #2.
Firebombing Grand Jury Subpoena of Anarchist Katie Yow
On July 31st, a Federal Grand Jury was convened in Greensboro to investigate the firebombing. Subpoenaed by that Federal Grand Jury was one Katie Yow, an anarchist and social worker.
On the date of her Grand Jury appearance, Yow coordinated a protest.
She also made an announcement that she planned to ‘resist’ the Grand Jury. Refusing to comply with a Federal Grand Jury can result in jail time of up to 18 months.
Before entering the courthouse, Yow addressed the anarchists and supporters in attendance:
“My name is Katie Yow. In a moment I will be going inside this courthouse, and I will be resisting a grand jury subpoena. Whatever happens today or in the future, I will continue to resist this grand jury subpoena. Things are really tough right now, and we are much, much tougher. And as we face state repression and all of the things that we struggle against, it is so critical that we mean what we say to each other. And resisting this grand jury is one way I can show you I mean what I say, and that we as anarchists mean what we say. My community means everything to me. Anarchism means everything to me. I am strong enough to do this because of you.”
Yow also made a statement prior to her testimony, which was posted to the website, “NC Resists The Grand Jury”:
“We have now learned more from the Assistant US Attorney about the subject of the federal grand jury to which I have been subpoenaed. This grand jury is looking into what the government has described as a bombing at the GOP headquarters in Hillsborough, NC this past fall. The AUSA has also indicated that they are interested in ‘other people’ and ‘other events.’ I don’t know anything relevant to a criminal investigation of the alleged incident at the GOP headquarters. The broad nature of the government’s interest in other information makes clear the way that this and other grand juries are used as fishing expeditions to attempt to coerce testimony on 1st amendment protected information. This is one of the many ways grand juries are used to repress social movements, and one of many reasons why we resist them.”
In addition, Yow recorded a video statement, which was taken down from YouTube fairly quickly after it was noticed by local media. American Lens has retained a copy of that video, which can be viewed in our previous report on Yow.
Various protesters, mainly anarchists, showed up to support Yow.
According to an August 25th update the “NC Resists the Grand Jury” website, Yow and her lawyer were informed that, “the government would be requesting contempt and that she was not released from the subpoena.”
An update posted to the same website on September 17th noted no change in the case and that Yow is, “she is waiting to find out when/if she will be noticed to appear again by the US Attorney’s Office or the Court.”
The September update also stated the situation can change quickly and that supporters need to, “be prepared on these days if you are able to show up for solidarity demos and hearings at the Greensboro Federal Court House,” to support Yow.
More About Anarchist Yow
According to an article at the Triad City Beat, Yow allegedly used to be a teacher in Guilford County schools. Attempts to verify a teaching license being issued to her are ongoing.
She graduated from Guilford College in 2009 and seemed to be involved in a variety of activities.
Yow is apparently affiliated with all girls rock band club known as ‘Girls Rock’. In 2012, she was characterized as a ”radical librarian and puppeteer based in Chapel Hill, NC. She often works with groups like the Mysterious Rabbit Puppet Theater and others.”
Yow also earned a thank you in the acknowledgement section of the book, The ABCs of Anarchy by High Point University Professor, Brian Heagney.
According to Triad City Beat, Yow had no problems testifying in a trial previously:
She also co-managed North Carolina Almighty Latin King & Queen Nation leader Jorge Cornell’s 2009 campaign for Greensboro City Council, along with Eric Ginsburg. [Disclosure: Ginsburg serves as the managing editor and food writer for TCB.] When Cornell was indicted on federal racketeering charges in 2011, Yow played an active role in mobilizing support for him, and testified as a character witness in his trial the following year. She has continued to support him as he serves a 28-year sentence at Petersburg Medium FCI in Virginia after several unsuccessful appeals to his 2012 conviction.”
Yow called Cornell, “hugely influential.”
About Grand Juries
Grand juries are actually a fact-finding body usually consisting of between 20 to 23 jurors. The job of a Grand Jury is to determine whether or not there is enough evidence for a case to proceed to court, to bring criminal charges or bring an indictment against a potential defendant.
A Grand Jury is usually reserved for only serious felonies during closed proceedings. The confidential setting of a Grand Jury is used to allow witnesses to speak freely, remove fears of retaliation and to shield the potential defendant’s reputation.
There are two reasons a prosecutor might subpoena someone to testify in front of a Grand Jury. One is that the witness is believed to have information about a crime committed by a third-party. The other is that the witness is the person suspected of the crime and the prosecutor wants to gather evidence against the witness.
It remains unclear if Yow was the target of the Grand Jury or was merely a witness being called to testify. No other names have emerged in relation to the firebombing or in regard to the Grand Jury Yow was called to testify before.