ITHACA, N.Y. — Reactions from city officials have begun to trickle out in the wake of the Ithaca Police Department’s decision to arrest two people during Sunday’s weekly protest.

According to police, “multiple subjects” from the protesters were observed spray-painting on the roadway, sidewalks, parking lot, IPD headquarters, and elsewhere, and the department is still conducting an investigation into the incidents. The two people arrested, 32-year-old Lucas Bonnet of Trumansburg and an unnamed 15-year-old, were both charged with making graffiti, a misdemeanor, and Bonnet was additionally charged with misdemeanor resisting arrest.

Mayor Svante Myrick attended some of the early rallies and protests during the summer, though he has been absent during the last several months. He said that damaging public property was something the protesters should have known would result in problems.

“We’ve given peaceful protesters a lot of leeway, but you cannot damage public property,” Myrick said. “We’ve been crystal clear on that point. This obviously creates clean up costs for the city, and adds to the workload of an already stretched [Department of Public Works]. And personally, I believe these actions are counterproductive to any righteous cause.”

As was previously reported, the two people who were arrested weren’t involved in the spray-painting at Sunday’s rally. After holding the two for less than an hour in the police station, both were released.

Ithaca police chief Dennis Nayor condemned the spray-painting, though he did not elaborate on why those two people specifically were arrested.

“This act of vandalism is reprehensible, and criminal acts of this nature will not be tolerated,” Nayor said. “For the past 18 weeks, the officers of the Ithaca Police Department have been thoroughly accommodating and highly professional during the scores of protests that have occurred, making this act even more deplorable.”

Exactly what pushed police to the point of arrests, though, isn’t clear. Protesters have openly spray-painted before (not much directly on the building, however), and have used melted candle wax to spell out anti-police messages on IPD’s parking lot several times before, much to the department’s chagrin. But though police clearly observed these things happening, and took pictures of the people doing it, arrests had not been made before Sunday.

Matt Butler

Matt Butler is the Education & Public Health Reporter at the Ithaca Voice. He can be reached by email at mbutler@ithacavoice.com