Michigan State Police, the FBI, local law enforcement and Eastern Michigan University officials have determined that a series of racist graffiti messages left on school property in late 2016 and early this year were the result of a hoax.
Candlelight vigils, protests, and more than 1,080 campus security hours were spent over the past year in Ypsilanti on racial slurs at Eastern Michigan University. The former student who was arrested and charged, however, is 29-year-old Eddie Curlin — a minority.
“I recognize the anger, fear and frustration that these incidents caused for many of our students, faculty and staff, and I thank them for their patience and understanding as we conducted a thorough investigation,” EMU Chief of Police Robert Heighes said Monday, Michigan Live reported. “We appreciate that people wanted a fast arrest but, in many cases, that is not the way police work happens.
Mr. Curlin was arraigned in Washtenaw County District Court on Oct. 23 for incidents in September 2016, October 2016, and early 2017. He was charged with malicious destruction of property, identity theft and using computers to commit a crime.
“To know that it was a person of color is hurtful,” said a black student named Jaiquae Rodwell, The Washington Post reported Tuesday. “As a black student, to know that another black person is using the n-word in a negative way is embarrassing.”
Other messages included “KKK” spray-painted in red, white and blue — and an order to “leave” the college.
Mr. Curlin attended the school from 2014 to 2016, although the university released a statement saying he is serving a one-to-five-year sentence on an unrelated charge of receiving and concealing stolen property.