Poster vandal apprehended

32-year-old suffers from mental illness

Last Friday Kingston police discovered the identity of the man who defaced posters with racist slurs.

The 32-year-old man, whose name police won’t release, isn’t affiliated with Queen’s University, police said. He suffers from mental health issues and is receiving treatment. Police said doesn’t pose a physical threat to community members, police said.

Several posters were found last week near campus defaced with racist slurs and referencing the white supremacist website stormfront.org.

Detective Constable Jeff Dempster, who led the investigation, said they found a description of the man on Stormfront.org, the website written on the posters, through his own blog entries.

“I read one of his blogs. … The guy pretty much describes himself and his behaviour,” he said.

Dempster said he passed the description around the office and an officer recognized and identified him.

“He’s recognized as somebody that’s been visible on Princess Street, someone who’s recognized as having mental health issues.”

The man was already receiving treatment when they met for an hour-long interview Friday, Dempster said

He said police don’t know when the man began treatment, but it was likely after he had defaced the posters in early February.

“They could have been old postings that people found later and brought in.”

Dempster said police aren’t pressing charges because the treatment he’s receiving is a better solution.

“I felt that was a better way of dealing with the situation than charging him criminally and putting him in the criminal justice system,” Dempster said. “He’s getting the help that he needs.”

Police don’t know what the man is suffering from, what type of treatment he’s receiving or when he will be released, he said.

During the interview the man admitted to defacing the posters and apologized for his actions, saying his purpose in writing the website’s address on the posters was to encourage people to go there and read his blog entries, Dempster said.

“He had no idea that February was Black History Month, but now understands how his actions caused concerns.” Dempster said the man’s blog entries didn’t have overtly racist comments.

“He was very apologetic if he caused anybody fear,” he said. “His belief when it comes to human rights and poverty is that we have to deal with the issues in our own society first before we can go and help other societies.” The man was aware he was posting on a white supremacist website but didn’t identify as one, Dempster said.

“He was clear that he, himself, is not a white supremacist,” he said, adding that the man said he used Stormfront.org because he identified as a socialist.

Dempster said after speaking with the man, he’s confident the man was the only one involved in defacing the posters.

“I don’t believe that this was an organized activity or that there’s a white supremacist group that was behind this,” he said.

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