Los Angeles police arrested a man suspected of using a sledgehammer and a pickaxe to destroy U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump’s star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, officials said Thursday.
Jamie Otis was taken into custody early Thursday on suspicion of felony vandalism, Officer Andrew Chambers said. It wasn’t immediately known if he has an attorney.
Investigators were called to the popular tourist attraction before dawn Wednesday after reports of a man smashing Trump’s sidewalk plaque.
Otis told several media outlets that he originally intended to remove the star.
He said he wanted to auction off pieces of the star to raise funds for the 11 women accusing the presidential candidate of groping them. Trump has denied the groping allegations and threatened to sue his accusers.
Video captures pre-dawn attack
A video posted on Deadline Hollywood Wednesday appears to show the incident as it happened.
The Hollywood Chamber of Commerce, which bestows the stars and maintains the popular tourist attraction, said it would take several days to repair Trump’s spot.
Trump’s star was dedicated in 2007 in recognition of his work on NBC’s reality TV show The Apprentice. Trump’s star is near the Dolby Theatre, where the Academy Awards are held each year.
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To receive a star on the Walk of Fame, a celebrity has to be nominated and a $30,000 US fee paid to a charitable trust.
Focus of protest
It’s not the first time Trump’s monument on the popular tourist boulevard has been the focus of political protest.
In July, a Los Angeles artist built a miniature border wall around the sidewalk plaque to spoof Trump’s pledge to build a wall between the U.S. and Mexico. The 15-centimetre-tall structure was complete with barbed wire, “Keep out” signs, and American flags.
“When people are unhappy with one of our honorees, we would hope that they would project their anger in more positive ways than to vandalize a California State landmark,” Hollywood Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Leron Gubler wrote in a statement.
“Our democracy is based on respect for the law. People can make a difference by voting and not destroying public property.”