On Monday afternoon, Ismael Chamu and Peter Estrada were arraigned and presented with formal charges of felony vandalism and misdemeanor possession of tools to commit vandalism. However, one charge was notably missing.
Berkeleyside reported on Monday that the two men’s actions were not classified as “hate crimes.”
On Saturday Morning, The Daily Wire reported that a string of vandalism incidents had been reported on the Southside of Berkeley. Various instances of tagging were discovered with phrases like, “F**k white people,” and “Kill cops.” In addition to the graffiti, a number of cars in the area had their tires slashed.
This meets the official definition of a "hate crime," and yet, the Alameda County DA’s office decided not to move forward with any formal hate crime charges.
The FBI defines a hate crime as, “criminal offense against a person or property motivated in whole or in part by an offender’s bias against a race, religion, disability, sexual orientation, ethnicity, gender, or gender identity.”
Some of the messages left by the vandals certainly meet that description.
The Alameda County DA’s office has not yet commented on why they declined to bring hate crime charges. One thing's for sure though, they better have a real good excuse.
Haley Smith is a regular contributor to The Daily Wire and founding chairwoman of Concordia University Irvine's Young Americans for Freedom chapter.