Rockford man charged for vandalizing Winnebago County GOP headquarters

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Updated: October 2, 2018 6:30 p.m.

UPDATE: ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) -- A Rockford man was arrested Monday in connection to the vandalism that was spray painted on the Winnebago County Republican headquarters building over the weekend.

42-year-old Timothy Damm is facing a felony charge of criminal defacement of property and resisting a peace officer. He was taken into custody Monday before posting bond and is now expected to appear in court on October 11th.

Investigators believe Damm is the only person responsible for defacing the property, but Jim Thompson, chairman of the Winnebago County Republican Central Committee says the organization will be taking new steps to prevent another vandal on their property.

“They don't have the right to express their opinion in such a way as to actually commit wrongful or criminal action and this obviously was criminal action,” said Winnebago County Republican Central Committee Chairman Jim Thompson.

Shadows of the words rape and shame remain on the Winnebago County republican headquarters building after it was vandalized over the weekend.

“This is not the way we want Rockford to present itself,” said Rockford Police Chief Dan O’Shea.

"It is never, never an excuse to use senseless commissions of crimes to advance in a message or a cause,” said Winnebago County State’s Attorney Joseph Bruscato.

42-year-old Timothy Damm has been charged with criminal damage to property and resisting a police officer, a charge police say they take very seriously.

“People can public debate whatever they want, politics or any other cause, and anybody that's going out and committing vandalism like this and criminal defacement, we're going to go after them with everything we got and make sure they're held accountable for their actions,” said O’Shea.

If found guilty Damm faces one to three years in prison.

“We are looking forward to prosecution in a timely and efficient manner as well as to ensure that appropriate justice is met throughout the judicial system,” said Thompson.

Thompson says he's never seen an act of vandalism like this before. He says the WCRCC is looking at new ways to try to prevent something like this from happening again.

“We have cameras up, we’re looking at a number of additional measures, but you're entitled to your opinion. You’re able to have a strong opinion, but if you post threats, if you make threats or you take action, that is criminal, that crosses the line,” said Thompson.

In the criminal complaint, police say Damm was detained at a Wal Mart where he had purchased additional cans of spray paint. He was then taken to the police department’s district 2 headquarters.

According to the complaint, Damm was uncooperative during questioning. He danced on the table, stacked the chairs and furnishings and disrobed to his underwear. He eventually had to be restrained in handcuffs.

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Updated October 2, 2018, 9:43 a.m.

UPDATE: ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) -- The Winnebago County State's Attorney's office announces charges for the vandalism of the Winnebago County Republican party headquarters.

Police say the building was vandalized with words like "rape" and "shame" some time between late Saturday night and early Sunday morning.

Timothy Damm, 42, of Rockford faces a felony charge of criminal defacement of property, which is punishable between 1 and 3 years in the Illinois Department of Corrections. He's also charged for resisting a police officer.

Damm is being held in the Winnebago County Jail.

He's considered innocent until proven guilty.

Police say this is an ongoing investigation.

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ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) -- The Winnebago County Republican party headquarters building was vandalized sometime Saturday night going in to Sunday morning, being tagged with malicious words. The community believes the recent hearing involving Supreme Court Nominee Brett Kavanaugh played a role and has impacted our community.

The words "rape" and "shame" were written numerous times across the building. Several people agreed that it was not right to vandalize a building, but some felt this was someone's way of voicing their opinion.

"My initial reaction was it's disgusting and it’s despicable,” said Rockford Mayor Thomas McNamara.

After the Winnebago County Republican Central Committee building was vandalized, WCRCC Chairman Jim Thompson held a news conference to confront this act of hate.

“Is it any wonder that after months of attack ads this state and the move toward guilty until proven innocent in the U.S Senate that this type of violence has found its way to Rockford,” said Thompson.

As some were upset about the graffiti, others felt this was someone’s way of having a voice in their community,

“That’s why they wrote it in big bold letters because no matter whom you are or what political party you hold or position you to hold, rape is never okay,” said Nitosha Harris, neighbor to the WCRCC.

Harris saw the vandalism as a way of bringing awareness to the accusations made towards Supreme Court Nominee Brett Kavanaugh.

"I don't believe anyone should be elected that’s a rapist because I mean what does that say about our people? What does that say about our country?" said Harris.

Local Republicans are not surprised by this act of hate. Winnebago County Board Chairman Frank Haney said in a statement, “I see this moment as an opportunity for all of us to pivot away from this cowardly act and show everyone watching the best version of ourselves,” and Democratic leaders agree.

"It makes no sense from a political standpoint. It makes no sense from just being a civil human and it really has no place in the city of Rockford," said McNamara.

Republican State Representative John Cabello wrote in a Facebook post saying, “We can have our differences. We can have good spirited debate. I hope whoever is responsible for this will be brought to justice. You are a coward for doing it unless you come forward.”

Mayor McNamara also took to Facebook saying that he has directed the city's public works department to have the graffiti removed immediately.

Thompson mentioned during Sunday’s news conference that this is an ongoing investigation and that police are looking for potential suspects.

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ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) -- The Winnebago County Republican party headquarters building was vandalized overnight with the words "rape" and "shame" spray painted all across the building.

Republican State Representative John Cabello wrote on Facebook saying, "We can have our differences. We can have good spirited debate. I hope whoever is responsible for this will be brought to justice. You are a coward for doing this without coming forward!"

Mayor Thomas McNamara also took to Facebook saying "This type of behavior is unacceptable and certainly does not live up to our community’s values. We all have differences but we must learn to disagree on policy without attacking people."

Mayor McNamara also wrote he directed the city's public works department to have the graffiti removed immediately.

The Rockford Police Department is investigating.