DeKalb government building vandalized as jail protests continue

Vandals shattered office windows at DeKalb County’s government center and spray-painted a wall on Friday night, possibly as part of an ongoing protest of conditions at the jail.

Twenty to 26 people wearing masks, hoodies and gloves were seen walking toward the Maloof Administrative Building in downtown Decatur around 9:30 p.m, the DeKalb Police Department. Surveillance video showed the group using rocks, hammers and pick axes to break windows and doors.

An expletive along with the number 12, a slang reference to police, was spray-painted on the side of the building. The same phrase has also been chanted at the jail protests.

The Maloof Building and annex houses the offices of the CEO and county commission, several county departments and an auditorium where meetings are held.

The vandalism occurred on  the same night protesters gathered a few miles away to amplify the May 11 death of inmate Clarence Mannings and others who died at the jail.

That was at least the fourth protest at DeKalb’s jail led by the Atlanta chapter of inmate rights group Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee.

The demonstrations began in April after inmates used social media to spread complaints about  mistreatment from corrections officers and black mold.

Four people were arrested on April 19 after officers said they forced their way into the jail lobby and threw firecrackers and smoke bombs. Another four people were arrested after they refused to stop blocking traffic on Memorial Drive. The violence of that May 15 protest was caught on video.

The next day, petitions were delivered to the county commission’s office at the Maloof Building urging an investigation at the jail.

Workers on Saturday morning cleaned up the broken glass and boarded up about a dozen windows there. They said large gravel rocks found on the scene were likely used to create some of the damage.

Groups participating in the jail protests, including the Atlanta IWOC and Atlanta Anarchist Black Cross, did not immediately respond to an email asking whether they had knowledge of Friday night’s vandalism.