The “non-violent” man who admitted vandalizing Donald Trump’s star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame to protest Trump’s alleged mistreatment of women was arrested Thursday.
He was released on bail a few hours later and has a court date scheduled for next month.
James Otis was arrested by Los Angeles Police Department detectives before he got a chance to carry out his plan to hold a 9:30 a.m. news conference Thursday at the site of Trump’s star at 6801 Hollywood Blvd. with his attorney, Mieke ter Poorton, and then walk to the LAPD’s Hollywood Station to surrender.
He was released about 2:40 p.m. after satisfying his $20,000 bail amount and is due in court in downtown Los Angeles on Nov. 18, according to sheriff’s inmate records.
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Otis told City News Service after the Wednesday morning attack on the star that his original plan was to remove Trump’s entire star, then auction it off in New York on election day and give the proceeds to the nearly one dozen women who allege they were groped or sexually mistreated by Trump. Trump has vehemently denied the allegations.
Otis said he was unable to remove the entire star, because the “stone was like marble” and it “would have taken an hour.” Instead, Otis, armed with a sledgehammer and a pick and dressed in a construction vest and hardhat, defaced the sidewalk monument, removing Trump’s brass-colored name and the television logo. The act was caught on video and posted online.
Repairs were already underway on the damaged star.
Hollywood Chamber of Commerce officials moved quickly to repair the star, which was then covered with plastic to protect it. Chamber officials estimated the repair cost at around $2,500.
Otis said the that vandalizing the star took him only a few minutes, and he still hopes he can sell the pilfered pieces.
“I’d like to try to go back and try to get the other part of the star,” he said Wednesday morning. “I just don’t know how to do that yet.”
Asked about the prospect of arrest, Otis said that “I’m not frightened of jail and I’m certainly not frightened of Mr. Trump.”
“What punishment I get is fine,” he said.
Leron Gubler, president/CEO of the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce, lashed out at the vandal.
“The Hollywood Walk of Fame is an institution celebrating the positive contributions of the inductees,” Gubler said. “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. Our Democracy is based on respect for the law. People can make a difference by voting and not destroying public property.”
Gubler said the chamber is working with police and intends to seek full prosecution of the culprit — something that would be done for any Walk of Fame star that is vandalized.
Otis told CNS he spent several nights in Hollywood preparing to carry out what he called an act of non-violent protest. He said he has been arrested about two dozen times in the past for protesting various causes.
In this case, however, he acknowledged that an act of vandalism may have crossed the line of non-violence.
“I destroyed the star, but considering the violence that has been committed (by Trump) — I’m a little sad that I had to (damage the star),” he said. “I’m usually always non-violent. It seems in this one instance I broke some stone and marble to make a point.
“I hope Mr. Trump understands that and gets the help he needs,” Otis said, suggesting Trump should receive therapy for violence against women. Otis said several members of his own family have been victims of sexual assault.
Trump’s Walk of Fame star has been targeted previously, with vandals painting a mute sign with a speaker and a line drawn through it earlier this year, and a street artist erecting a small wall around it this summer, mocking Trump’s pledge to build a wall along the U.S.- Mexico border.
— City News Service