September 15, 2010
ASHEVILLE — A Buncombe County grand jury indicted 11 people on charges related to a May Day riot and vandalism spree downtown that caused thousands of dollars in property damage.
Police say the suspects were dressed in black and wielded hammers as they smashed windows at businesses and damaged cars in the Battery Park area the night of May 1.
The mob broke windows and damaged property at seven businesses and hit cars, causing more than $18,000 in damage.
Some of the 11 indicted are students and are loosely tied to an anarchist website and the May Day movement, authorities said.
The date has become a day for marking worker solidarity and has been seized upon for anti-capitalism displays of violence, especially by anarchist groups in Europe.
The indictments send the cases to Superior Court without the need for further hearings in District Court. New court dates for the suspects haven’t been scheduled.
Each defendant faces 10 misdemeanor and three felony charges, including inciting to riot, conspiracy to riot and damaging buildings.
District Attorney Ron Moore said he’s received postcards from defenders of the suspects calling for the charges to be dropped.
A website said supporters are raising money to help pay the defendants’ attorney fees and that the 11 were randomly swept off the street in “egregious attempts by the Asheville Police Department to show it maintains control.”
Attorney Johanna Finkelstein, representing Nicholas Entwistle, declined to comment. No other defense attorneys could be reached for comment Tuesday.