Ypsilanti, Michigan – A 29-year-old black man was arraigned Thursday as the suspect in writing of racial slurs in 2016 against African Americans on Eastern Michigan University property that set off a series of student protests and a candlelight vigil over racism that triggered national news coverage.
For example, the Washington Post reported on Sept. 21, 2016, “The racist message came amid national tensions over police shootings, most recently of black men in Charlotte and Tulsa this week.”
Eddie Curlin was arraigned on three counts of malicious destruction of property, four counts of identity theft and one count of using computers to commit a crime, according to the Detroit Free Press.
There were three separate instances in which Curlin is accused of writing hate and racist messages on campus property.
Curlin is a former EMU student who is currently in custody of the state prison serving a sentence for receiving and concealing stolen property.
Eastern Michigan University did a press release that failed mention that Curlin was black or the nature of his comments.
Curlin allegedly wrote “KKK” on a campus building as well as “Leave ni****s.”
It appears that the media reported off of the press release, and also failed to mention the contents of the racist messages.
“It was totally self-serving,” said Eastern Michigan University Chief of Police Robert Heighes, according to the Detroit Free Press. “It was not driven by politics. It was not driven by race.”
Eastern Michigan University’s Police Department said it spent more than 1,080 hours investigating the graffiti.
The investigation included interviewing more than 60 people and more than 1,200 hours of video from more than 100 campus cameras were reviewed.
There was also a $10,000 reward. There were also nearly 20 search warrants executed during the investigation.
EMU also said that the FBI, Michigan State Police, Washtenaw County Sheriff’s Department Community Action Team, the University of Michigan Police Department and the Ypsilanti Police Department also provided support.
Police did not say how they caught Curlin.
EMU President James Smith released a statement that referred to the incident only as”vandalism.”
“The incidents of vandalism on our campus created significant pain, fear and distress among our students, faculty and staff. I joined with many of our community in my own personal anger over these incidents,” Smith said in the statement.
It’s not clear why Curlin is not facing hate crime charges.