'Proud' Smasher of Trump Hollywood Star Turns Himself In | NBC Chicago
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'Proud' Smasher of Trump Hollywood Star Turns Himself In

James Otis says he takes full responsibility for his actions and surrendered himself to authorities

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    James Otis, who admitted to destroying Donald Trump's Hollywood Walk of Fame star, is out of jail. John Cadiz Klemack reports for the NBC4 News at 6 p.m. (Published Friday, Oct. 28, 2016)

    A man who had an ax to grind with Donald Trump was arrested Thursday morning after he destroyed the presidential candidate's star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

    James Otis, an heir to the Otis Elevator Company fortune, surrendered to police Thursday morning, his attorney said. Los Angeles police confirmed Otis was arrested and remained in custody late Thursday morning. 

    Otis said he's been arrested over two dozen times in the past for protesting various causes. He appeared Wednesday in a Deadline Hollywood video dressed as a construction worker in work boots, a high-visibility safety vest and helmet smashing the Trump star with an ax and sledgehammer.

    "It was an act of civil disobedience, freedom of expression," Otis told NBC4.

    Man Who Smashed Trump's Star: 'It Was an Act of Civil Disobedience'

    [LA] Man Who Smashed Trump's Star: 'It Was an Act of Civil Disobedience'
    The man who smashed Donald Trump's star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame stands by his actions. Robert Kovacik reports for the NBC4 News at 11 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 26, 2016. (Published Thursday, Oct. 27, 2016)

    Otis said his intent was to remove the star and auction it off to raise money for the women who accused the presidential candidate of sexually assaulting them.

    "I did it, and I'm very happy I did it, and I'm proud that I did it," Otis said.

    The Republican presidential candidate and former "Apprentice" host received the star in January 2007 for his role on the NBC show. The star is in the 6800 block of Hollywood Boulevard, a prominent location on the Walk of Fame not far from the Hollywood and Highland Center, and was discovered broken into pieces early Wednesday morning.

    Otis said he camped out for several nights by the star to plan. On Wednesday, he brought his vest, helmet, tools and other items and went to work on clobbering the star. 

    Watch: Vandal Smashes Trump Star in Hollywood

    [NATL-LA] Watch: Man Dressed as Construction Worker Smashes Trump Star
    Video captured by Deadline Hollywood shows a man dressed as a construction worker using a hammer and ax to smash Donald Trump's Hollywood Walk of Fame star Wednesday Oct. 26, 2016. Credit: Deadline Hollywood (Published Wednesday, Oct. 26, 2016)

    "He fancies himself a civil activist," said his attorney, Mieke ter Poorten. "Someone who fights for the right of the under-represented.

    "It didn't work out quite the way he wanted it to. What he was trying to do was that when you have a bad act, you accept responsbility for your bad act. And, you accept the responsiblity for your bad act." 

    Otis said he takes full responsibility for his actions and promises to surrender to authorities, who were waiting to arrest him on charges of felony vandalism.

    "This area has been identified as a California historical landmark location, and we are looking at any additional penalties or charges that could be attached," said Capt. Cory Palka of the Los Angeles Police Department Hollywood Division.

    Trump has faced accusations from 11 women of sexual misconduct in recent weeks as the presidential campaign enters its final stages. He has denied the accusations.

    "I admitted I've broken the law, I've vandalized, I've stolen, and now I'm going to go get my punishment," Otis said. "And that's something Mr. Trump has never done."

    The Hollywood star belonging to the New York business magnate and reality show personality has become a target during the presidential campaign, ever since Trump announced his candidacy last year. It has been defaced with spray paint and surrounded by a miniature wall in protest of Trump's plan to build a wall at the U.S.-Mexico border.

    Walk of Fame star recipients are selected by a committee that considers hundreds of applications each year. The stars are purchased for a $30,000, rather than gifted.

    Vandal With Ax Rips Up Trump's Walk of Fame Star

    [LA] Vandal With Ax Rips Up Trump's Walk of Fame Star
    A vandal used an ax overnight to tear up Donald Trump's star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame Wednesday Oct. 26, 2016. (Published Wednesday, Oct. 26, 2016)

    The Walk of Fame is administered by the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce, which said in a statement that the star will be repaired immediately. The repairs will take several days, and the star will be covered to protect it during that time.

    "The Hollywood Walk of Fame is an institution celebrating the positive contributions of the inductees," said Leron Gubler, President-CEO of the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce. "When people are unhappy with one of our honorees, we would hope that they would project their anger in more positive ways than to vandalize a California state landmark. Our democracy is based on respect for the law. People can make a difference by voting and not destroying public property."

    NBC4's Nyree Arabian and Kim Baldonado contributed to this report.