Police have arrested a student immigration activist, charging him with 103 counts of vandalism that included anti-Trump graffiti he left in paint pen and spray paint on the University of Connecticut campus.
Eric Cruz-Lopez, 21, confessed to police that he “did the graffiti,” which included writing “F*ck Trump,” in several locations around campus, the arrest report says. In total, the 103 markings, made between December 2016 and March 2017, caused more than $4,000 in damage.
Police had tracked down Cruz-Lopez after reviewing security camera footage and installing additional video cameras. On Feb. 10, police confronted him about the graffiti, and he said he was responsible for it and that it was politically motivated. Cruz-Lopez also told police he was “open to entering a conversation about restitution.” But even after that conversation, he allegedly continued to vandalize the campus at least five other times, according to the police report.
According to The Day, Cruz-Lopez, a junior, came to the United States illegally at age 7, and he has stayed as under a special visa after an executive order from the Obama administration. Cruz-Lopez said in February he will take the Fall 2017-Spring 2018 year off to work, saving to complete college at the UConn.
Police say Cruz-Lopez “was known by many officers at UConn for helping to organize political protests on campus against President Trump’s policies.” He was a volunteer for Connecticut Students for a Dream, a youth organization that supports undocumented students.
Cruz-Lopez did not respond to Heat Street’s request for comment. Lucas Codognolla, the executive director of Connecticut Students for a Dream, said in a statement, “We do not condone vandalism or any damage done to property.”
As an activist, Cruz-Lopez has testified before the Connecticut legislature. In Feb. 2016, he was arrested while protesting in front of the White House; he later said the Obama administration and Democrats were “claiming to be pro-immigrant while inflicting terror on our communities with raids, deportations, and inhumane detention policies.”
And after candidate Donald Trump tweeted a photo of himself with a taco salad on Cinco de Mayo last May, immigration and labor activists including Cruz-Lopez protested by delivering taco salads to lawmakers on Capitol Hill.
Cruz-Lopez has been charged with more than 100 counts of criminal mischief in the third degree.
Cruz-Lopez is a community organizer for the organization CT Students for a Dream, and has appeared at events supporting undocumented students in the past.
— Jillian Kay Melchior writes for Heat Street and is a fellow for the Steamboat Institute and the Independent Women’s Forum.