Anarchists hit Washington newspaper, photographer

June 10, 2011 - 9:30 PM

OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) — The Olympian and one of the newspaper's photographers were targets of vandalism this week that included anarchist graffiti and an acidic substance, authorities said Friday.

Police said graffiti was painted at the Tumwater home of photographer Tony Overman. The words "Overman snitch" were painted on a newspaper delivery truck and an apparently acidic substance was thrown on the exterior of The Olympian's building. The vandalism was discovered Thursday morning.

Overman told the newspaper that he believes a group of self-described anarchists is trying to intimidate him so that he doesn't take pictures of group members during public demonstrations. He said previously published photos have been used by police to identify anarchists.

Overman said the vandalism at his home included having the tires on his truck slashed, an anarchist symbol painted on his garage door and the word "snitch" spray-painted on his pickup. He said being targeted at his home was even more traumatizing than his time working in Iraq.

"The reason why it's so disturbing to me is that you'd think that in a free country, the people who use the First Amendment to express their right to free speech would also respect the First Amendment right of the free press," he told The Olympian.

The newspaper reported that Overman was assaulted last year as he attempted to take a photo of a professed anarchist during a march in Olympia. A woman clad in black with a bandanna covering her face spray-painted his face and camera lens, the newspaper said.