Rockford suspect charged with vandalizing Winnebago County GOP headquarters
Charges have been brought against a Rockford man suspected of vandalizing the building that houses the Winnebago County Republican Party's headquarters.
Timothy A. Damm, 42, was charged on Oct. 1 with felony criminal defacement of property and misdemeanor resisting a peace officer.
Damm allegedly spray-painted the words "rape" and "shame" on the building on North Court Street. Rockford Police saw the graffiti on the morning of Sept. 30. Damm was taken into custody on Oct. 1.
The charges carry up to three years in prison. The misdemeanor charge also carries the possibility of two years of probation.
The date "9/27/18" was also painted on the building, which is believed to be a reference to the date that Dr. Christine Blasey Ford testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee about her sexual assault allegations against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.
Damm was taken to the Winnebago County Jail, where his bond was set at $25,000. He was scheduled to appear in court on Oct. 11, according to a press release from Winnebago County.
Local and state officials condemned the vandalism.
"There's a large amount of passionate debate going on at this time," Winnebago State Attorney Joe Bruscato said at a press conference on Oct. 2. "It is inexcusable to use senseless criminal actions to advance a debate."
John Cabello (R-Machesney Park) posted on Facebook the day the vandalism was discovered, calling the vandal a coward.
"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!"
The Winnebago County Republican Party also issued a statement.
"Hate has no place in the political process. Violence has 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. We do not seek to capitalize on victims' lives or memories to advance a purely political agenda, as seen in the past month by Sen. Feinstein and our own Sen. Durbin."
When police were investigating the vandalism, Damm was present at the scene and was even interviewed by a news outlet as someone who lives in the neighborhood.
The building also houses several other businesses, including law offices.