Su­dent faces hate crime charges for racist graf­fiti


COL­LEGE PARK, MD. (AP) — A black stu­dent blamed his “bot­tled up anger” for racist, threat­en­ing graf­fiti he ad­mit­ted to scrawl­ing in a bath­room on a Mary­land col­lege cam­pus, ac­cord­ing to a po­lice re­port.

Bal­ti­more County po­lice on Mon­day filed hate crime charges against 21-year-old Fynn Arthur, a Brunswick, Maine, res­i­dent who was en­rolled as a stu­dent at Goucher Col­lege in Tow­son.

Po­lice ar­rested Arthur last Thurs­day on mis­de­meanor charges of ma­li­cious de­struc­tion of prop­erty. He was re­leased from cus­tody af­ter a court hear­ing last Fri­day. State’s At­tor­ney Scott Shel­len­berger said his of­fice sub­se­quently rec­om­mended the ad­di­tional charges, which also are mis­de­meanors.

“We felt that with the mes­sage that was in­volved, there was suf­fi­cient ev­i­dence that the mo­tive be­hind the mes­sage was race-re­lated,” he told The As­so­ci­ated Press on Tues­day.

Arthur told in­ves­ti­ga­tors he was re­spon­si­ble for the bath­room graf­fiti of a back­ward swastika and a death threat that in­cluded a racial slur against blacks and the num­bers of dorm rooms be­long­ing to black stu­dents, in­clud­ing him­self, the po­lice re­port says.

“When asked why he would do some­thing like that, he replied that he has a lot of built up anger with no way to vent it on cam­pus,” the re­port says.

Arthur, who was a mem­ber of the Goucher Col­lege men’s lacrosse team, has been banned from cam­pus pend­ing dis­ci­plinary pro­ceed­ings, col­lege of­fi­cials said in a state­ment. The of­fi­cials said they were “shocked and sad­dened that these acts were com­mit­ted by a mem­ber of our own Col­lege com­mu­nity.”

“These acts of hate have con­sumed our com­mu­nity, and we feel strongly that the sus­pect should re­ceive the strong­est charges, which re­flect the se­ri­ous­ness of these crimes,” said their state­ment, dated last Fri­day.

Shel­len­berger said he doesn’t know if Arthur has an at­tor­ney. Ef­forts to reach Arthur weren’t im­me­di­ately suc­cess­ful Tues­day.

The new charges that Arthur faces make it a crime to dam­age prop­erty be­cause of a per­son or group’s race, reli­gious, sex­ual ori­en­ta­tion or na­tional ori­gin.

Po­lice be­gan in­ves­ti­gat­ing af­ter a stu­dent found the threat­en­ing graf­fiti writ­ten in black marker in a bath­room stall and on a bath­room wall on Nov. 14. Po­lice in­ter­viewed Arthur that day since his room num­ber had been in the mes­sage. He said he was “shocked that some­one would tar­get him in that man­ner be­cause of his race,” the re­port says.

More racist graf­fiti, in­clud­ing the ini­tials “KKK,” was found last Thurs­day in a dif­fer­ent bath­room on an­other floor in the same build­ing. In­ves­ti­ga­tors pro­vided ques­tion­naires to stu­dents named in the graf­fiti in­ci­dent, and Arthur’s hand­writ­ing was “con­sis­tent” with the writ­ing in both bath­rooms, po­lice said.

Arthur had scanned his ID to en­ter the build­ing shortly be­fore the graf­fiti was dis­cov­ered last Thurs­day, ac­cord­ing to the re­port. He also had scanned his ID at sev­eral res­i­den­tial build­ings just be­fore sim­i­lar “bias-re­lated graf­fiti” was dis­cov­ered there in March 2017, the re­port says.

Arthur “blamed his bot­tled up anger for the first in­ci­dent on (Nov. 14),” the re­port says. “When asked what caused him to com­mit the sec­ond graf­fiti in­ci­dent, he replied he had been drink­ing and ‘just did some­thing dumb.’”


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