District Attorney Will Not Press Charges Against UW-Madison Student Accused Of Vandalism

A police photo of graffiti on campus. 

The University of Wisconsin-Madison student accused of spray painting anti-racist graffiti on several university buildings will be sent to a community restorative court instead of being charged with vandalism.

Senior Denzel McDonald, who also goes by the name King Shabazz, was pulled out of class and arrested last month by university police officers who said they’d gathered evidence showing he was responsible for painting message like, “White supremacy is a disease” all over campus.

“Our goal is to offer an alternative approach to solving low-level crime and disputes in the community,” said Ron Johnson, a coordinator at the restorative court.

That alternative approach means working on community service projects relevant to the crime committed.

Shabazz’s arrest led to large outcry from student activists on campus. Mike Davis, with the Black Liberation Action Coalition, an activist group that led some of the protests against Shabazz’s arrest, said they see this as a positive development.

“I think this is something we can celebrate temporarily, that he won’t have criminal charges, but we still have a bigger issue of racism and injustice on campus and in Madison that we’re still going to continually fight,” Davis said.

UW Police Department officials made a public apology last month for interrupting a class to make the arrest.