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West Hartford Police Charge West Haven Man in Connection with LaSalle Road Vandalism During Protest

By Ronni Newton

A 24-year-old West Haven man turned himself in to West Hartford Police on Monday and faces several charges after being identified as a suspect involved in vandalism of a building at 65 LaSalle Road in West Hartford Center during a pro-Palestinian rally that took place on Jan. 21, 2024.

According to Capt. Daniel Moffo, West Hartford detectives sought a warrant from Hartford Criminal Court for Hicham Talal, 24, of West Haven, after he was identified as a suspect in the incident that involved spraying red paint on the exterior walls, windows, and doors of 65 LaSalle Road. Posters were also affixed to the property during the incident.

The warrant was obtained Wednesday, and Talal surrendered at the West Hartford Police Department on Monday.

Police have charged Talal with one count of third-degree intimidation based on bigotry or bias – which is considered a hate crime – and one count of second-degree criminal mischief. He was released on $50,000 court-set cash or surety bond, police said, and is due in court on March 7.

An Instagram account that appears to belong to Talal features a profile picture that announces his support for “the Palestinian cause.”

Police on Monday also issued the following statement regarding the arrest of Talal, their investigation, and public gatherings that have taken place and will continue to take place in West Hartford, noting that this is the first time such a gathering has led to injury, arrest, or property damage: “The West Hartford Police Department’s goals identify a prompt and professional response to our community. Today’s arrest, due in large part to the diligent and continuing efforts of investigators, speaks to our commitment to achieve those goals. Moreover, this incident reflects the independent actions of individuals, not the larger group of protestors. There have been more than 60 gatherings, protests, rallies, vigils and marches in West Hartford in recent years. No prior event resulted in injuries, arrests, or property damage.”

The incident remains active and ongoing, police said, and they are still looking to identify the female person of interest whose image is shown in the photo released to the public on Feb. 8. 

Those with information related to the investigation are asked to contact the West Hartford Police Department at (860) 523-5203, or via the anonymous tip line (860) 570-8969 or email whpdtips@westhartfordct.gov.

This article first appeared in we-ha.com and is reprinted with permission.

PHOTO: Hicham Talal. Courtesy of West Hartford Police

PHOTO: Vandalism 

CAP: Vandalism to 65 LaSalle Road included red spray paint as well as signs posted by participants in a rally organized by American Muslims for Palestine Connecticut Chapter and two other pro-Palestinian groups. This This photo first appeared in we-ha.com.

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