A Gainesville man has been charged with a first-degree misdemeanor by after police say he defaced a judicial candidate’s signs to make him look like Adolf Hitler.
Alan Geoffrey Geering, 51, of Alachua, has been charged with property damage and criminal mischief over $200, court records show.
The arrest comes after Eighth Judicial Circuit judge candidate Nathan Skop filed a Gainesville police report last month when he spotted his signs were vandalized. His opponents — Sean Brewer, Dan Weisman, AuBroncee Starlin Martin — have all said none of their signs have been tarnished during the campaign.
Multiple attempts to reach Geering, whose LinkedIn page says he is a senior accountant for Meridian Behavioral Healthcare, have been unsuccessful.
On July 30 at 6:22 p.m., a witness saw Geering writing with a black marker on a campaign sign for judicial candidate Nathan Skop outside Brown’s Country Buffet in Alachua, a report filed with Alachua police says.
A witness told Alachua city police that they saw Geering walk over to Skop's political sign and write in bold black letters the word “STOP,” and also draw black hair and a miniature mustache on Skop's face, according to a report.
“The drawing on the signs made the picture of Nathan Skop look similar to a picture of Hitler,” the report said.
The sworn complaint estimates the cost of the signs that were defaced in Alachua at $209.92, and says that Skop wished to pursue charges.
The judicial race is supposed to be nonpartisan, and rules for candidates say they must be above party politics and refrain from speaking on issues that may be legally challenged.
Last week, Skop appeared as the only judicial candidate on the Alachua County Republican Party's page, though he said he did not condone or seek the party's support for the upcoming race. His picture and link to his campaign site have since been taken down.
Last month, Skop, who also claimed some signs were also stolen, filed a complaint with Gainesville police after other signs along Newberry Road were vandalized, too.
Those signs had a slightly different message. Red “Stop Skop Trumpist clown” stickers were placed over Skop’s nose on signs along Newberry Road. The vandal also wrote "45 Lover" a reference to former President Donald Trump.
Geering has not been charged with that complaint.
“Whoever is responsible for defacing my campaign signs is breaking the law and trying to compromise the integrity of a nonpartisan judicial election,” Skop told the Sun last month.
Skop said Friday he had no comment about the pending charges being filed against Geering.
This article originally appeared on The Gainesville Sun: Alachua man charged with defacing judicial candidate's campaign signs