UCPD arrests one after vandalism hate crime on campus

Li Ka Shing was vandalized over the weekend, according to the University of California Police Department. Justin C.

The Li Ka Shing Center for Biomedical and Health Sciences was vandalized over the weekend, according to the University of California Police Department. Photo: Justin C.

Campus police at the University of California, Berkeley, have arrested one man, and are seeking another, in connection with several instances of graffiti found Saturday, authorities said.

According to police, “This crime is classified as a hate crime because while documenting the scene the officers noted derogatory graffiti towards sexual orientation.”

Saturday night at about 10:30, the University of California Police Department received a report of two males who were spray painting graffiti at the Li Ka Shing Center for Biomedical and Health Sciences. The center, on Oxford Street near Hearst Avenue, opened this semester after its dedication in October.

An officer who arrived found vandalism on the east side of the building, and a witness pointed the officer in the direction of the vandals, who had left south toward the Eucalyptus Grove.

The officer walked on and spotted graffiti on Mulford Hall, between Li Ka Shing and the grove, according to a UCPD statement. The officer then observed a male in a brown jacket spray painting a nearby tree.

As that male took off running, another person “stood up from behind a wall and tried to flee the scene south toward University Drive.”

Police apprehended the second runner at University near the west Crescent, according to police.

Anthony Aaron Garcia, via UCPD

Anthony Garcia, via UCPD

Authorities identified him as 23-year-old Anthony Aaron Garcia. Police said he cut his forehead during the pursuit. After receiving medical care, he was taken into custody.

Police were unable to catch the other individual on Saturday. According to authorities, his first name is “Chris,” and he is 6 feet 2 inches tall and 200 pounds. He was wearing a brown jacket.

Police ask anyone with additional information to call the University of California Police Department’s Criminal Investigation Bureau at 510-642-0472 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily; the department can be reached at 510-642-6760 at all other times.

In case of an emergency, police can be reached by calling 9-1-1. Berkeley campus police can be reached directly by cell phone at 510-642-3333.

[Editor's Note: Berkeleyside is working to improve our crime coverage, on the assumption that public safety coverage is important to the community. We're taking steps to get more timely and detailed information from local authorities, and are getting a sense of what we can provide. We're continuing to offer a range of coverage, which you can see under the "All the News" tab above. We haven't dialed back on any other coverage as a result. Increased coverage is not an indication of a crime spike. The police department is working on one of its annual reports, which will offer more context on overall crime trends. We'll have the story when it's available.]

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  • crimeside

    Next on berkeleyside: man arrested for shoplifting a Coca-Cola!

  • Really?

    Spraypainting nasty comments doesn’t seem serious enough to be a “hate crime.”

  • emraguso

    Police described it as such because some of the graffiti was related to sexual orientation.

  • Reader

    Yes, public safety coverage is important to the community and Berkeleyside performs a great service. A guy spray painting something stupid or offensive on a tree doesn’t seem to warrant a breathless headline like this, though. We don’t need an article on every arrest UCPD or the Berkeley police make. It’s not why I read Berkeleyside, anyway.

  • emraguso

    I guess everyone may have their own take on this. I can understand what you’re saying. But personally, being Jewish, if someone was spray painting swastikas around campus, and police arrested someone in connection with it, I would want to know, and that would feel threatening and like a hate crime (to me). In this case, authorities called it a hate crime and that seems to be a legitimate and official designation. We certainly won’t be reporting on every arrest in Berkeley. This was one item that police did their own release about — which resulted in this quick post. The notice may have been released in part because authorities are still looking for one involved party. (So, in my opinion, newsworthy for a couple reasons.) But I also understand that “hate crime” might seem to some to be a designation that should only stem from more serious violations.

  • Jane Tierney

    People think graffiti is a victimless crime. But I feel it is a deterioration of our society. This is not “artistic expression,” but a miscreant’s attempt to revile others by destroying public and private property. When expressions of hate or discrimination are used, it’s clearly hate speech. Only those that are insensitive to the suffering of others would use this type of speech.

  • Eddie

    If this were your brand new property, I bet you would believe it was a crime.

  • http://www.caviarcommunism.com/ West Bezerkeley

    Agreed.

    However, I’m so tired of the “catch & release” program for vandals. In all seriousness, I’m in favor of taking a page out of the Singapore penal code to punish vandals. I’ll bet vandalism would plummet if we did.

  • Figaro

    Interestingly, there are different degrees of crime.
    There are non-violent crimes, violent crimes, misdemeanors, felonies, murders; there is perjury, treason…
    By the way, shoplifting is also a crime.

  • Truth Sayer

    Being a hate crime carries a lot more time. If it was directed towards individual(s) or violence, I can understand. I say let them clean off graffiti for a month.

  • Mark L

    Breathless headline? Where? Did I miss something?

  • PragmaticProgressive

    I think the punishment for taking a page from their penal code has to be pretty severe. :-)

  • http://www.caviarcommunism.com/ West Bezerkeley

    You’re right, we should photocopy & follow the instructions from there ;-)

  • 4Eenie

    Singapore is a FINE city! :)

  • http://www.caviarcommunism.com/ West Bezerkeley

    I love it. Thanks for posting that.

  • Guest

    “derogatory graffiti towards sexual orientation”–are we too delicate to repeat what was said?

  • Guest

    Does a band’s name qualify as a hate crime? Did anyone notice that the headlined band in was “The Gonifs” ? From the Urban Dictionary, the definition of GONIF:

    thief, a crook. An untrustworthy person, particularly one who steals outright or over-charges for merchandise.

    (Hebrew & Yiddish: ganev, meaning thief)
    Did you see what those gonifs at the new store are charging for t-shirts?

  • Tizzielish

    So are you saying hate speech directed ‘merely’ at a category of humans is not as hateful as hate speech directed at individuals? Do you realize, truth sayer, that generalized hate speech is what leads to individualized hate, hate speech, hate acts, dscriminatory, bigotry, bias, racism, etc? It is still hate speech and hate crime irregardless of the category of victim of the speech.

    And I see some homophobia in comments dismissing gender identity hate speech as something less than other categories of hate speech — yuck to that.

  • Truth Sayer

    When you say “So you are saying……..” is not what I was said. Those are your words, not mine. I am significantly more aware of the result of hate crimes than you could possibly imagine. As I worked in Federal law enforcement. My immediate though after reading the article was that if sentenced, and incarcerated, the perpetuators will be with those who are masters who will teach them to act violently and thrive on hate. And our prisons are chock full of gangs based upon race, creed, and color. As, prisoners must belong to one of the gangs. Note that I never suggested giving them a pass. Only an alternative that will, hopefully, prevent them them from developing into violent hate mongers.

  • Charles_Siegel

    And the correct plural should be “g’navim,” not “gonifs.” Maybe it is a hate crime against the Yiddish language to use the wrong plural.

    In Yiddish, gonif is also used affectionately, particularly of children, something like the way we might use “rascal” in English. Maybe they are using the word in this Yiddish sense.

  • Charles_Siegel

    I agree with Tizzie on hate speech, but I am a puzzled about how this comment fits in with her comment yesterday about the fight in downtown Berkeley – that we shouldn’t worry about it because teenagers have always fought. Of course, you could just as well say that we shouldn’t worry about hate speech because teenagers have always been racist, etc.

    So why do you think we should condemn hate speech but we should condemn the hateful act of beating someone up?f

  • The Sharkey

    I agree. It also seems odd in conjunction with her comments about not wanting to gerrymander a student district for the City Council since it would make them a sort of “special class.”

    Is it a hate crime to write “KILL WHITEY” on a wall? Should it be?

  • emraguso

    I wish they had been more specific as well. I will see if I can find out, time allowing.

  • Truth Sayer

    Advocating taking another life is wrong, and specifying the race, sex, national origin, or sexual preference is a crime.

    I am vehemently against the very ideal of using “teenagers always fought” excuse. As such saying is no different from “boys will be boys .” Which is a means to permit and even encourage disturbing behavior.

  • The Sharkey

    I agree that it’s bad, but should it carry additional weight that normal property vandalism does not? Our free speech laws are supposed to protect even abhorrent speech.

  • Truth Sayer

    There is a lot of “what ifs” regarding free speech. For example, a person can make a anti-gay statement on the job. Depending upon where it took place, the occupation, and company. The penality would be laughter at the statement or termination of employment. Sadly, even though there are labor laws, enforcement does not always occur.