By Jim Hagerty
ROCKFORD – A man who was interviewed by a local news station about vandalism to the local Republican headquarters has been charged with defacing the property.
Timothy A. Damm, 42, was taken into custody Monday, Oct. 1, a day after the words “rape” and “shame” were discovered spray painted on the walls, doors and sign at the GOP office at 515 N. Court St.
Damm was interviewed by Eyewitness News Sunday morning when police were investigating the scene behind him.
“It’s hard. It’s hard to see,” Damm told Reporter Brittany Toolis.
Damm is charged with felony criminal defacement of property and misdemeanor resisting a peace officer. Police say he was uncooperative when he was interviewed at District 2 headquarters and danced on a table and stripped down to his underwear. He was later taken to the floor and placed in handcuffs.
The vandalism followed allegations that Supreme Court justice nominee Brett Kavanaugh sexually assaulted a girl at a high school party in the early 1980s. Two other women also accused the federal judge of misconduct. Kavanaugh, who has undergone six extensive FBI background checks as part of his duty as a judge and a member of ex-President George W. Bush’s legal team, denies the allegations.
Damm said during his on-camera interview that he lives down the street from the Republican office and that he had trouble sleeping Saturday night “with everything that’s been going on with the Supreme Court.”
He said he doesn’t like that the Republican headquarters is so close to his home, and while he didn’t take credit for the graffiti, he commended it.
“I think it’s great that someone labeled them for what they are,” a smirking Damm said. “I am happy about that.”
Winnebago County State’s Attorney Joe Bruscato (D), said while the Kavanaugh drama has sparked national discussion about sexual assault, criminal behavior is never an acceptable response.
“There’s a large amount of passionate debate going on at this time,” Bruscato said at a press conference Tuesday morning. “It is inexcusable to use senseless criminal actions to advance a debate. “We have a clear method in this country for debating and protesting matters. It’s covered by our First Amendment, which we all celebrate and enjoy, but it does not provide for an excuse to commit senseless acts, damage property or do anything else.”
The investigation was conducted by detectives from the Rockford Police Financial & Property Crimes Unit. According to a criminal complaint, Damm was initially detained at the Walmart on Northridge Drive after police say he purchased more cans of spray paint.
Rockford Police Chief Dan O’Shea said the department will aggressively pursue vandalism suspects, using “everything we’ve got, and make sure they’re held accountable for their actions”
Criminal defacement of property is a Class 4 felony punishable by a sentence of one to three years in the Illinois Department of Corrections followed by a year of mandatory supervised release. Resisting a peace officer is a Class A misdemeanor with a sentencing range of up to one year in the Winnebago County Jail or two years of probation.
Damm was booked into the Winnebago County Jail and posted bond. He is scheduled to appear in court at 2 p.m., Oct. 11, in Courtroom B of the Winnebago County Criminal Justice Center.
The Winnebago County Republican Central Committee released a statement Sunday, commending the Rockford Public Works Department for removing the graffiti. Spokesmen said hate and violence should have no place in the political process.
“Our party is the party of Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt and Ronald Reagan, not the party that spawned the Ku Klux Klan or enforced segregation,” the statement said. “Committee Headquarters is located in the building in which seven women work each day. It’s the place in which over two dozen female precinct committeemen meet to fulfill their commitment to our community. They should not have to be afraid because some people could not control their hate.” R.