Baltimore County police have arrested a Goucher College student who they say drew swastikas and racist graffiti and wrote the names or dorm numbers of black students–including his own–in bathroom stalls on two different occasions this past month.
The liberal arts college announced the latest vandalism incident last night. It happened in a bathroom on the second floor of Jefferey House, one of four dorms included in the larger Heubeck Hall building.
The tags made with permanent marker, which college administrators said included a backwards swastika and “hateful, threatening, and racist graffiti, which was specifically anti-Black and anti-Latinx,” were found just before 2 a.m. Thursday, according to a letter signed by college president Jose Bowen, dean of students Bryan Coker, interim associate dean of students Nicole Johnson and public safety director David Heffer. Police said Friday that the graffiti also included “KKK” and the last names of four black students.
Police today identified their suspect as Fynn Arthur, a 21-year-old student from Brunswick, Maine, who court records identify as African-American. He’s been charged with two counts of malicious destruction of property and is being held without bail ahead of a review hearing. Police said Arthur had written his own name on the bathroom stall.
In a press release, the department said Arthur was also responsible for a similar incident in the same residence hall on Nov. 14. In that case, police said Arthur had scrawled “a swastika symbol, a racially motivated threat, and three dormitory room numbers which were occupied by black male students”–a group that, again, included his own room. Officers interviewed Arthur and others, but at the time “none could provide any suspect information or motive for the graffiti,” police said.
After yesterday’s discovery of the newer anti-Semitic and racist scrawlings, the department partnered with the FBI’s Baltimore Field Office and Goucher College public safety officers to investigate. They reasoned that both incidents involved the same suspect, and uncovered evidence yesterday that they said pointed to Arthur. He was arrested on campus around 6 p.m. Thursday.
Police spokeswoman Det. Jennifer Peach said in an email that they suspect Arthur included his own name and room number in the graffiti “in an attempt to mislead investigators by posing as a victim… This is not an unheard of tactic.” She added, “During the initial investigation there was no indication that he was a potential suspect.”
Administrators said a student–they declined to name him, citing pending student conduct proceedings–has been removed and banned from campus “pending adjudication through the College’s student conduct processes.”
“Once again, we strongly condemn this abhorrent hate crime that occurred in our community, and call on all community members to remain supportive and understanding of one another during this challenging time,” the school’s announcement said.
Maryland saw an uptick in both reported and verified hate or bias incidents last year, with the number of verified cases climbing from 102 to 183. Baltimore County had the largest number of reports with 103, 31 of them verified, according to state figures.
The Sun reported in September that hate-related vandalism cases nearly doubled at Maryland’s colleges in 2017.
This story has been updated.
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