Arrest Made for Malicious Destruction of Property at the Montgomery College - News Release

NEWS RELEASE

City of Takoma Park Police Department
7500 Maple Avenue
Takoma Park, MD 20912

For more information contact:

Public Information Officer (PIO)
Catherine Plevy
301-891-7142
240-338-2901

May 2, 2013 (10:50 am)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 

Chief Alan M. Goldberg from the Takoma Park Police Department announces the arrest of Dawit Bezuneh, 32, of Washington, D.C., for five counts of Malicious Destruction of Property, Malicious Destruction of Property Scheme, and Race, Religion Ethnic Property Damage. Other charges may be pending.

Since on or about October 21, 2012, the Montgomery College Takoma Park/Silver Spring campus has been plagued with a rash of vandalism that is racially motivated. These incidents took place at various locations throughout the campus, which is located in the 7600 block of Takoma Avenue, Takoma Park, Maryland.

On March 5, 2013, Campus Security was notified by an employee of the school about graffiti on the interior wall inside the library bathroom. Unknown who he was at the time, the suspect had written "Cracker is Inferior Race!!!" in red ink on the wall. This incident was not known to the police, however was made a part of an on-going complaint of graffiti with the school. On April 7, 8, 15, 22 and 29, 2013, Takoma Park Police responded to the school for the same acts of destruction of property, finding the word "Cracker" written throughout the school in either red or green permanent marker. It was also learned that there had been other acts of graffiti between October 21, 2012, and April 29, 2013, including a pencil being used to write "Crackers!!" on desktops and monitors within the school’s computer lab.

During this timeframe, the Special Assignment Team (SAT) began an undercover investigation at the school. During the investigation, Bezuneh was developed as a suspect and items of evidentiary value led detectives to apply for an arrest warrant for Bezuneh for his criminal activity at the school.

Cracker, sometimes "white cracker" or "cracka" is sometimes a pejorative expression for white people. Bezuneh’s acts of vandalism appear to be hate/racially motivated.

Bezuneh was responsible for several previous campus vandalism incidents of a similar nature, including a tagging of "Death to America" throughout the campus. Takoma Park Police investigators made appropriate notifications to all interested agencies.

Bezuneh was arrested and charged accordingly. He was transported to the Montgomery County Central Processing Unit without incident.