N.S. men charged in cross burning
Wednesday,February 24, 2010 1:54 PM AT
Nova Scotia RCMP have charged two brothers with setting a cross ablaze outside the home of their white cousin and her black fiancé
Nathan Neil Rehberg, 20, and Justin Chad Rehberg, 19, were due to appear in court Wednesday to face charges of public incitement of hatred, mischief and uttering threats.
They're accused of erecting a two-metre-high cross, with a hanging noose, in front of a Hants County home and yelling racial slurs at the family inside.
The terrified woman inside was Michelle Lyon, a relative of the Rehbergs.
Granville Rehberg, Nathan and Justin's father, said he's "real sick" about what happened early Sunday and equally baffled.
"Why would they put it on their own cousin's lawn?" he told CBC News.
Rehberg, who grew up in Nova Scotia's Hants County, said he's not racist. He said he has close friends who are black, as do his sons.
"I don't know what to say to the black community. If they are the ones that did it, then I apologize," he said.
RCMP wouldn't comment on the relationship between the suspects and the victims, but said the cross-burning was not a random act.
Lyon lives in Poplar Grove with Shayne Howe and their children. Howe is the only black person in the small community northeast of Windsor.
The couple and their children have been receiving support from neighbours and strangers alike since their ordeal became public.
More than 1,900 people joined a Facebook site set up in support of the family, with expressions of anger that the family was being terrorized.
Sgt. Brigdit Leger, an RCMP spokeswoman, said the Rehbergs were arrested because of information that came in through tips.
''This incident was very disturbing, and we were very quick to reach out to the public. In this instance, we are very thankful to the public for the tips that we received," she said.
More to come.