Today, Eugene Police Department Special Investigations Unit detectives arrested two juveniles for some of the River Road graffiti that was recently reported as possible bias graffiti. After an investigation it was found there was no motive by the juveniles for a bias charge and they have been charged with Criminal Mischief and released to their parents. Detectives learned that on the morning of February 19, the two juveniles, aged 14 and 15, spray painted graffiti on the Santa Clara Church of Christ (2600 Belmont), the Santa Clara Mall (2762 River Road) and broke windows to the Grant Smith Denture Clinic (65 Irving Road). The cost to repair the damage is unknown at this time.
The graffiti was originally reported as bias-related based upon the nature of the words and manner of graffiti. The Eugene Police Department recognized the hurtfulness of the graffiti to our community and immediately assigned members of the Special Investigations Unit to identify and arrest those responsible for the graffiti. Subsequent investigation has determined this was not a crime motivated by a bias and the words that appear to target members of one of our minority communities were in fact the street name of one of the involved juveniles. The image reported to depict a noose was an attempt by the juveniles to depict a private body part and not a noose.
Detectives do not believe the juveniles are involved with another graffiti incident on River Road, which is being investigated by the Lane County Sheriff’s Office. In that incident a racial slur was spray painted on the side of a car belonging to Black family, along with a noose left on their trash can.