A former University of Maryland employee has been charged with malicious destruction of property after multiple hate bias-related incidents occurred on the campus during the fall semester.
University Police charged Terrell Demonte Alexander, 18, from Lanham, in connection with "racially charged writings" found in the men's bathroom of the North Campus Dining Hall in October and November, according to a news release. Alexander was also charged with property damage to certain classes of persons or groups in the incidents.
On Oct. 23 at 12:06 a.m., University Police responded to the North Campus Dining Hall for a hate bias-related vandalism incident. A university employee told police the writings were found on the bathroom stall inside the men's bathroom, and the incident occurred between Oct. 22 and Oct. 23, the release said.
Police responded to the North Campus Dining Hall again on Nov. 3 for another hate bias-related vandalism incident, in which "racially charged writings" were again found on the men's bathroom stall, police said. This incident took place between Nov. 2 and Nov. 3.
Both of these incidents were listed in University Police daily crime logs as vandalism, with no mention of hate bias.
Handwriting samples and photos of the graffiti were later submitted to the Maryland State Police Forensic Science Division, and Alexander was connected to the graffiti, the news release said.
"We take incidents of hate-bias in our community very seriously, which is reflected in the extensive effort to identify the individual responsible," University Police Chief David Mitchell said in a statement. "Thanks to our officers, who spent many hours reviewing video footage and interviewing potential witnesses, to Maryland State Police Forensic Science Division, who analyzed handwriting samples and to the university's Dining Services for their attentive proactive response towards the incidents."
A university spokeswoman told The Diamondback on Dec. 8 that 27 hate bias incidents had been reported on the campus since the start of the fall semester. University Police crime logs currently show five reported hate bias incidents during that same span.
Three other hate bias incidents in the North Campus Dining Hall men's bathroom were reported earlier in the semester. Those incidents involved offensive language and drawings, including a swastika. University Police have offered a $2,000 reward for information that could reveal the perpetrator.