Earlier this month, we reported on the Asheville Police Department’s graffiti crackdown and the arrest of three people for alleged “graffiti-related crimes.” Now the APD has announced the arrest of another person, 18-year-old John Baxter Harrill Jr., as a result of an investigation into graffiti activities downtown. According to an e-mail from APD Officer Steve Riddle, Harrill’s Fairview home was searched and a collection of “items related to vandalism” were seized, spawning reactions from city officials.
In the e-mails below, listed in consecutive order, APD Chief William Hogan and City Manager Gary Jackson weigh in, as does Council member Carl Mumpower, who reiterates his oft-repeated stance that graffiti is “urban terrorism.”
— Brian Postelle, staff writer
From: Steve Riddle
Sent: Monday, March 19, 2007 7:56 PM
To: Critical Incident Reports
Subject: South / Central Dayshift
Captain Splain, CRO’s Riddle and Coker, along with assistance from BCSD, executed a search warrant at 305 Orchard Court in Fairview. This search warrant was conducted as a result of the continued investigation on another graffiti suspect in the downtown area. Seized were markers, graffiti templates, tags, pictures, design books, and other items related to vandalism.
Charged: John Baxter Harrill Jr.
Damage to Real Property x 5.
More charges are pending.
From: William Hogan
Sent: Tuesday, March 20, 2007 9:37 AM
To: Steve Riddle; Critical Incident Reports
Cc: Gary Jackson; Jeff Richardson
Subject: RE: South / Central Dayshift
Great catch and thanks for the initiative and follow-up on the graffiti issue.
In a message dated 3/20/2007 10:39:33 AM Eastern Daylight Time, GJackson@ashevillenc.gov writes:
Mayor Bellamy and Council:
I’m forwarding this good news to you because of the recent focus on downtown social issues and cleanliness.
Date: March 20, 2007 10:54:23 AM EST
Graffiti is a very expensive problem that continues to have major harmful economic impact on our downtown, thoroughfares, and neighborhoods. Graffiti is a form of urban terrorism that is anything but innocent or artistic. It is very expensive to remove and clutters the environment as surely as litter. If it’s on your property it may be art – if it is on mine or my neighbors, it is vandalism…
Your efforts to raise the visibility of this issue and the harmful impact can go a long way toward bringing the community together to resist the impact and costs associated with graffiti.
Take a can of spray paint and spray an X on the side of you home and then try to remove it – the word innocent will not be the first to come to your mind.
Asheville City Council