RALEIGH, N.C. — When vandals trashed and attempted to set fire to the state Republican Party Headquarters, Raleigh police called it a crime, but some argue it was a case of civil disobedience.
"Law enforcement agencies nationwide recognize the seriousness of movements such as this. We prepared our officers. We train continuously," said Capt. Ken Mathias, of the Raleigh Police Department.
Police arrested and charged Melissa Brown, David Hensley, and Vanessa Zuloaga with felony vandalism. Now, various online anarchist supporters consider them misunderstood. They are now referred to as the "Raleigh 3," and there are calls to help post bond for them.
E-mails to WRAL defend the attack on the GOP offices as a calculated non-violent destruction of property driven by opposition to the idea that power and domination are necessary for society. "Release the Raleigh Three," wrote one supporter.
Earlier this week, another supporter, Asa Collier showed his frustration when he went after TV cameramen. He was released on bond on assault charges.
"There is a movement that has a propensity towards violence and damage to property. We take it seriously," Mathias said.
Police point to smoke bombs in Research Triangle Park suspected by a similar group as evidence of a pattern. Some backers compare the so-called 'Raleigh 3' to other rebels in history. Whatever their political views, police question the tactics.
The "Raleigh 3" remain in jail on $50,000 bond. WRAL tried to contact various people within the movement, but they did not return the messages. As a side note, not everyone in the so-called anarchist movement supported last week's destruction of property.