A group of self-described anarchists smashed windows and spray-painted police cruisers Thursday at the Chapel Hill Police Department to show “solidarity” with an imprisoned Atlanta man and rioters in Missouri.
The anarchists smashed the back windows out of three cruisers in the department’s parking lot at 828 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., according to a police report and an online blog post ( bit.ly/1t3g2WI). The group spray-painted another car with the words “For Luke,” reports said.
The incident happened shortly after 3 a.m. Thursday and caused an estimated $2,200 damage, the report said.
“This was done as a small gesture of solidarity with Luke O’Donovan, of Atlanta, GA, who was recently sentenced to two years in prison for defending himself against five homophobic attackers. We hope this brings a smile to his face,” according to an article from Anarchist News reposted on the Prison Books Collective blog.
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The blog is affiliated with the activist Internationalist Books and Community Center in downtown Chapel Hill.
“We also carried out this act in solidarity with the rioters and looters of Ferguson, MO, who, in the face of continued brutality by racist police, have inspired the world with their courageous resistance against the forces of state, capital, and white supremacy. May their insurrection spread,” they said.
Supporters of O’Donovan say he was attacked by five to 12 men shouting homophobic slurs after leaving a New Year’s Eve party in December 2012. They say he defended himself using a pocketknife and managed to escape.
Atlanta Police arrested O’Donovan and charged him with five counts of felony aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and one count of attempted murder.
O’Donovan, facing up to 110 years in prison, accepted a plea deal. He is serving two years in a Georgia state prison and will be on supervised probation for eight more years.
Chapel Hill police are investigating the vandalism but did not respond immediately to a call for more information.
In recent years, the local anarchists have clashed with police during brief occupations of the old Yates Motor Co. building on West Franklin Street and former WCOM community radio station building in Carrboro, both vacant at the time. Businesses have also complained about anarchist graffiti in neighboring Carrboro.