Pickup driver disrupts vigil

Crowd shouts for justice as two arrested, including son of Bill Murray. 

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A screenshot from a video shows Caleb Murray, left, being taken into custody by Tisbury Police.

Two people were arrested at an otherwise peaceful vigil at Five Corners in Vineyard Haven Monday. Eric Woods, 66, of Tisbury allegedly used the N-word before punching a teenager, according to a police report. The other person, 27-year-old Caleb Murray of Chilmark allegedly spit on and bit a police officer, attacked sheriff’s deputies, and threatened arson, the report states.

Murray is the son of actor and former Saturday Night Live comedian Bill Murray.

Some of the protestors watched as Caleb Murray was handcuffed ahead of Woods. During the tail end of Monday’s vigil, a commotion drew the attention of Tisbury Police to the vicinity of MV Glass off Lagoon Pond Road. 

“There was a large crowd forming around a red Toyota Tacoma and yelling at the operator,” a police report states. “The large crowd was saying that he [Woods] punched someone in the face. Members of the crowd started to sit in front of the red Toyota…”

Sgt Max Sherman asked Woods to shut off the truck and place his keys on the dash, a report states. Sherman then got a brief account from Woods.

“Woods stated that he lost his temper and ‘swung’ at the other person involved,” the report states. Sherman spoke to the victim, a 19-year-old man, who was out of his car and behind Woods’ truck. “[The teen] stated Woods was giving the crowd the finger and yelling the ‘N-word.’ This is when [the teen] yelled from his car at Woods to stop being disrespectful. Woods then exited his vehicle, walked back to [the teen] while he was sitting in his vehicle and punched him in the left side of his face.”

Video footage shows a crowd riled at seeing Woods still sitting in his truck when Murray was handcuffed by police. They chanted “shame on you” at Woods, and openly questioned Tisbury police officers about why Woods was still in his truck. “Why’s he still in the truck?” one man shouts. “Get him out of the truck,” another protestor is heard screaming. Several of them implore officers to “do your job.” When they finally pulled Woods from the truck, there were hoots and hollers of approval.

In his report, Sherman states he returned to speak with Woods, heard glass break, and saw officer Mike Cutrer handcuffing Caleb Murray. Photography shows a window in Woods’ truck was broken but this isn’t mentioned in the report other than to state the vehicle was towed away to prevent further being “vandalized.”

Woods was also handcuffed and arrested.

Eric Woods

Tisbury Police charged Woods with assault and battery and disorderly conduct. He was eventually released on personal recognizance and given an arraignment date. 

Tisbury Police charged Murray with malicious destruction of property, a threat to commit a crime, three counts of assault and battery on a police officer, making terroristic threats, and disorderly conduct. Edgartown District Court Clerk-Magistrate Liza Williamson later threw out the charges of making terrorist threats and malicious destruction of property before Murray’s arraignment Tuesday. In the court document, Williamson wrote there was not probable cause that it was Murray who broke

Caleb Murray

the window in the truck. “Truck was surrounded by protestors, glass broke, Murray fell to his knees, but no nexus for [probable cause] for vandalism or [malicious] destruction,” Williamson wrote. On the charge of making a terrorist threat, she wrote that the actual charge “specifically excludes public demonstrations.”

While being transported to the Dukes County lockup after his arrest, Murray allegedly was uncooperative and spit on and bit Officer Cutrer, the police report states. 

“Eventually Officer Cutrer was able to finish the transport to the jail, where [Murray] again became uncooperative, attacking deputies,” a report states. “After being put into a cell, he then used a piece of the cell to not only cut himself but cut the deputies.”

It does not appear the Dukes County Sheriff’s Office has taken out charges against Murray. 

“At the jail, Murray was overheard by Officer [Edward] St. Pierre saying that once he got out of jail he was going to burn down all the [expletive] buildings,” a report states.

On Tuesday Murray was arraigned in emergency session before District Court Judge Benjamin Barnes. He was ordered held without bail until a bed was available in an evaluation facility, per Section 12, at which time he would be released to go to the facility. 

Murray’s case was continued until July 31. Woods is slated for arraignment on June 29. 

Murray is represented by Edgartown attorney Rob Moriarty. It’s unclear if Woods has retained a lawyer. 

30 COMMENTS

      • bulkington– I think there are many people here who think tourist are the cause of the problem, regardless of what the problem might be.
        And if it’s not the tourist or the foreigners, it’s definitely the liberals.
        It’s called displacement.

  1. What on earth would make a racist old man think it is okay to publicly taunt peaceful protesters by shouting the N word in the first place, causing everything that followed? The question should be “Who on earth” would enable this behavior, even in a place like Martha’s Vineyard, where the pretense is that islanders are somehow one community looking out for each other. Is this one bad apple? No, it’s an example that the “close community” is a non-inclusive facade, where many are left out. There’s a big difference between an obvious mental health issue and the willingness to express a blatant hatred for black people. The racist leader of this country has emboldened people like Woods, who otherwise likely would save his racist outbursts to family Thanksgiving dinners and rant-posting his intolerance anonymously online.

    • Jackie– good point about eric woods– he is probably one of the right wing commentators here. I think that we, as frequent commentators here could call the lies, bs, and misinformation we often see here.
      I am not saying to suppress anyone’s opinion or free speech here. But we can call bs on the lies.
      I will not argue that Woods does not have the right to call people whatever he wants, but it should not be ignored. When someone here tells a blatant lie, we should call bs on it. If in fact, woods does comment here, he likely has made his opinions known, and has not been confronted.
      As Eric Albert says, our silence is their validation.
      The fact that he did this at a peaceful rally says as much about his common sense as it does about his racism.
      He, by the way, lives right down the street from me . Kind of scary.
      Yes, I’m a “privileged white guy”, but racist scare me none the less.

      • Don, funny you should mention Eric Albert. I was just wondering today if we can expect him to take these protests and heartbreaking events as an excuse to send in a letter that starts off, “Hey, you know what’s really prejudicial around here?”

        I’ve noticed he likes to wait for something serious to be going on so that he can play off of it. 😐

        Hopefully this doesn’t work like Bloody Mary, but just in case, no one say his name a third time.

        • Can you at least spell my name right if you are going to continue to wonder and write about me?

          • Sure, Erik. Since we are handing out corrections, please get real about apartheid and why it shouldn’t be co-opted for something so amazingly trivial. Or why sad events in our community don’t deserve to be talked about in the same sentence as beach privileges.

          • Sorry , Erik. “E” will be much easier 🙂
            I didn’t check on the spelling before I commented.
            I hope you realize that I was paraphrasing your signature sign off, and was in no way criticizing you. To me, it seemed appropriate here. Silence IS validation. I hope you don’t mind if I use that more often when I criticize people for being apathetic or silent.
            I have heard that the Eric in question has a history of interactions with the police, and a well known hatred for people of color. We need to call that– your signature sign off may take on new meaning– Since eric woods lives quite close to me, I drove by his house today , and I did notice that he has a prominent American flag at his house. ( no big surprise to me ) I think we need to have a debate as to how xenophobic racist have managed to hijack the flag. Patriotism and the American way is not waving such a cherished symbol while spewing racist hatred. I also hope you saw my comment about Aquinnah limiting parking to residents only.
            Be well-

  2. The D.C. brutal gassing attack on peaceful protesters by the government so that trump could have his path cleared for his Bible photo op, is what emboldens racist attacks, even on a small island. Under Trump, what Woods instigated is acceptable— to racists.

  3. From the alleged assault by the father in Aug.2018 upon the beloved MV Times photographer, Peter Simon (miss you, Peter!) (reported in this newspaper, “Murray grabbed him and poured a drink on his shirt,” Simon told police, according to an Oak Bluffs Police report.”), to the actions of the son on the streets of Tisbury, and the DCHOC, the Murray family is claiming way in excess of its 15 minutes of fame.

    • “…the beloved MV Times photographer”.
      Some may have seen him that way, others felt quite the opposite.
      I laughed when that story appeared because both parties were most likely in the wrong.
      For the record, I was never a fan of either one.

  4. After what I’ve read this week online, I’m sure the man who used the racist slur does not think he’s racist in the least. He would probably say this was about freedom. We live in a country where some will flat-out condone the torture and murder of Black people, even going so far as to illustrate why it was deserved, only to immediately claim that’s not racist and they love the Constitution. I try not to give in to hopeless feelings, but…

  5. There are multiple videos of Caleb Murray breaking the truck’s window, here’s one of them: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gv7OtI9zODQ

    I wonder if they only dropped the charge’s because he is Bill Murray’s son:

    “Edgartown District Court Clerk-Magistrate Liza Williamson later threw out the charges of making terrorist threats and malicious destruction of property before Murray’s arraignment Tuesday. In the court document, Williamson wrote there was not probable cause that it was Murray who broke the window in the truck.”

  6. I have been on island long long time and systemic racism is here and prevalent under the surface of elite vacation community. ask any of us in OB and our brothers and sisters who vacation here. add the disdain for the native Americans and it’s a large dose of racism. I dont care what anyone says if you are honest it is true

  7. the court clerk-magistrate is bound by the police report–they actually follow the laws here, unlike Minneapolis!!

  8. It’s a shame to see that all the alleged instigators must all be trump supporters (according to Jackie)
    I guess George is just used to her and a few others hatred of the current president and the need to blame EVERYTHING that happens on him
    Don’t think anyone said a discouraging about the past president here
    Sad, just sad to have that much hate

    • view– please forgive me, but I Don’t see anywhere that Jackie says “all the alleged instigators must all be trump supporters” . Could you find anywhere she said that and post it here ? Thanks, If I am wrong and she
      said that, I will apologize.Until then, I think you are making things up, and I call BS.
      But since you mention it, what do you think the odds are that Eric Woods actually voted for someone other than trump in 2016 ?

    • Viewfromnowhere, did you think Eric Woods, spewing the n word, was a Bernie Bro? A disgruntled Hillary supporter? An anyone-but-Trump voter? The hate comes from racism, not from those who protest against it. Racists embrace Trump.

    • I do not know Eric Woods and cannot speak to his political preferences, but there have been self-described Trump supporters all over the internet commenting on this matter from a supremely racist vantage point. The examples are endless, though most defy this site’s standards.

      This should not be a partisan issue. It’s basic human decency. Even if we make it partisan, the crimes in question are, in theory, completely anti-Republican. The conservatives I know have constantly expressed a hatred for anyone infringing on their rights, a desire for limited interference by the likes of government or police, and absolute adoration for the Constitution and associated philosophies. I accept these stances and even agree with some in certain contexts. How can anyone with these values NOT be horrified and furious that a man was denied due process and then unlawfully executed? If one of Trump’s children were treated the way George Floyd was, absolutely no one who supports him would stand for it. Would you? It would be the biggest news this century. And that would be a proper response, one I’d co-sign, because no human deserves this and police do not have the right to play God.

      It goes beyond silence. There are Americans who, despite declaring themselves proud of our supposed liberty for all, are finding ways to blame the victim, downplay what happened, or simply lie by saying it can’t be homicide because Floyd may have had health conditions, etc. That’s like claiming JFK died from Addison’s disease. We can’t twist what happened in plain, uncut view. And if any of the values listed above were authentic, no one would even want to.

      If anyone can clear up how a love for our rights and apathy towards Floyd’s treatment can co-exist, I am listening. If you cannot, please consider showing your support. I know celebrities and the media get annoying, that people are sick of wokeness trending on social media, etc. All that is minor noise. Put it aside. The heart of the matter is that innocent people are scared to be in public, and their parents are afraid they won’t come home.

  9. aovineyard, I watched the loop you put up on u-tube I do not see anything in Murrays hand because it doesn’t show his hands until he places them on his head as he kneels in submission to the police without any sign of resistance in fact the direct opposite he gives himself to police custody without any problem. Did you mean to post a different u-tube loop to bolster your view?

  10. teehump– you are correct that Murray’s hand is not visible, but , at second 2 he is walking towards the vehicle. at second 4 you can see him leaning to the left– his face is visible just beyond the back window– if you also look closely , there is a quick movement of an arm followed by the immediate shattering of the glass. The detached arm could have been the “hand of god” and the window spontaneously shattered at that instant. Look closely. Look for that abrupt movement that is visible through the truck in the passenger side rear window.

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