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Black man charged for racist, anti-black graffiti that sparked campus protests

Eddie Curlin was charged in an incident of racist graffiti on Eastern Michigan University's campus that took place in 2016. He’s been charged with three counts of malicious destruction of property, four counts of identity theft, and one count of using computers to commit a crime. (Image source: Courtesy of Michigan Department of Corrections)

A black man was charged Monday with spraying racist, anti-black graffiti on Eastern Michigan University’s campus last year, which led to widespread student protests, according to the Detroit Free Press.

The graffiti included the letters "KKK" in red, white and blue, and the word "Leave" followed by a racial slur for black people painted on a campus building.

Who did it?

The suspect is 29-year-old former EMU student Eddie Curlin. He attended the school from 2014 to 2016.

Curlin has been in custody of the Michigan Department of Corrections on an unrelated charge since August, serving a 1-to-5 year sentence for receiving and concealing stolen property.

Now, he’s been charged with three counts of malicious destruction of property, four counts of identity theft, and one count of using computers to commit a crime.

Why did he do it?

EMU police Chief Robert Heighes would not specify a motive for the vandalism, only saying “it was totally self serving. It was not driven by politics. It was not driven by race.”

Protests and unrest

After the racist graffiti was discovered last fall, students at EMU protested what they believed was a lack of urgency and action by the university in finding out who was responsible.

Student protests in the student center lasted so long that a number of students were disciplined for code of conduct violations, but those charges were later dropped.

Police comments

“Our officers have worked on this case extensively since day one,”  Heighes said in a news release Monday. “We appreciate that people wanted a fast arrest but, in many cases, that is not the way police work happens.

"I recognize the anger, fear and frustration that these incidents caused for many of our students, faculty and staff, and I thank them for their patience and understanding as we conducted a thorough investigation."

One last thing…
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