Police have revealed that the culprit responsible for terrorizing students at Eastern Michigan University by spray painting racist graffiti on random spots around the campus – and igniting protests in the process – is actually a black man himself.
Eddie Curlin, 29, attended Eastern Michigan from 2014 to early 2016 and was already behind bars on unrelated charges after being sentenced to prison in August, the Detroit Free Press reported. Authorities claim that he planted anti-black graffiti around campus to fulfill his own twisted purposes.
“It was totally self-serving,” said Eastern Michigan University Chief of Police Robert Heighes during a news conference. “It was not driven by politics. It was not driven by race.”
According to Heighes, who declined to offer more insight into Curlin’s motive, he was not aided by any other persons or groups.
The graffiti began cropping up around the Ypsilanti campus in September 2016, when students and officials found the letters “KKK” and several racial slurs spray-painted onto several buildings. The next day, another racial slur was found in the stairwell of a dormitory building.
The incidents prompted students to organize numerous marches against racism, stage a protest at a football game, and perform a sit-in at the student center.
“Our officers have worked on this case extensively since day one,” Heighes said at the time. “We appreciate that people wanted a fast arrest but, in many cases, that is not the way police work happens. 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.”
Curlin faces three misdemeanor counts of malicious destruction of property, four felony counts of identity theft, and one felony count of using computers to commit a crime. His rap sheet also includes a 3-year 10-month prison sentence beginning in 2010 for possession of burglary tools, breaking and entering and resisting a police officer.
Despite the arrest, some students still worry that larger race-related problems at the university will go unaddressed.
“There’s too much stuff beyond just this,” junior Teresa Moore told the newspaper. “Administrators are just going to sweep this right under the rug and say all the race problems are solved.”