DENVER (CBS4) – Denver police arrested 10 people accused of spray-painting graffiti on the Colorado’s state capitol building Wednesday night.
Crews started cleaning it up Thursday morning.
The suspects face charges of destruction of property, and one faces a charge of assaulting an officer. Police didn’t say what led to that charge.
The five suspects arrested for tagging were Sean Osborne, 34, Aaron Twinam, 25, Cody Adamec, 21, Mason Martinez, 18, and Alexis Nieves, 27. The five suspects arrested for various other charges were Casey Adkins, 28, Titus Coit, 19, Jeffry Newland, 26, Lance Fortney, 36, and Joshua Tyler, 20.
State Sen. Bill Cadman, a Republican from Colorado Springs, surveyed the damage Thursday evening.
“This is especially disheartening when I’ve worked here and when you know the history of this place and what it took to create this,” he said.
Some of the graffiti included profane language and some appeared to be similar to the symbols used by the international hacktivist group Anonymous. The group has been staging protests around the world for several years on Nov. 5. On Wednesday the group staged protests in Philadelphia, Ferguson, Mo., and Brussels in Germany.
“Now the Department of Personnel and the Capitol Complex staff, our mission is to get this cleaned up quickly and appropriately as possible,” Doug Platt, communications manager of the Department of Personnel and Information, said Thursday morning.
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Anonymous states on their website that their purpose is to expose government corruption.
CBS4 interviewed one Denverite who walks by the Capitol on a nightly basis and said the vandalism is disturbing.
“It’s pretty sad,” Johnny Garcia said. “I appreciate the hard work that it takes to build something like this and keep it so clean and it just sucks that people can screw that all up in half a second.”
“Symbolically this is significant to all the people of Colorado. The Capitol is a location where we look to have constructive debate and discussion and disagreement. It’s unfortunate that people chose to express themselves in this manner,” said Platt.
On Thursday morning one of the people cleaning up the graffiti with a power washer told CBS4 they have cleaned up graffiti at the historic building before, but in this case they have called in a special cleaning crew to help them because the graffiti is so hard to erase.
“We have a contractor that does cleaning and power washing services for the state and a variety of buildings as well as here at the Capitol. They will access the material that was used to tag the Capitol and make sure they can remove it without leaving any permanent marks or permanent residue afterwards,” said Platt. “It’s not as simple as just washing it off or power washing because that’s exposed granite.”
The identities of the suspects have not been released. So far it’s not clear how soon after the tagging took place the arrests were made.
“You need a permit to assemble on the West Steps. It is my understanding that this group did not have a permit to assemble. They assembled yesterday afternoon down on the sidewalk and that’s public property, there is no need to permit with the state.