Berkeley vandal arrested, charged with hate crime

BERKELEY, Calif. (KGO) -- Berkeley residents are reacting to the arrest of a suspect who police say was spray painting racist and anti-police graffiti on cars and fences there.

Police have identified the suspect as a former substitute teacher.

"On a lot of cars up and down the street and ours had the anarchist sign," one resident told ABC7 News.

It all began on June 28, 2017, many residents woke up to their property tagged and damaged.

"The police came and talked to me and said you have any enemies or anything like that? Then I said no, then he started seeing it up and down the street," said Craig, a Berkeley resident.

"Some of the slogans were racially motivated, they were derogatory in nature. They identified people by race which makes it a hate crime," said Andrew Frankel, with the Berkeley Police Department.

Detectives arrested 21-year old Ismael Chamu at his San Francisco home Thursday night. Police believe he is responsible for all 35 vandalism acts.

Last month, police arrested Chamu after officers responded to a burglary.

"He was stopped for that reason because the description matched, they were the only guys on the street at that hour," said Frankel.

Police arrested him for having an illegal knife which they found under a vehicle near where he was taken into custody. The district attorney released him days later.

Chamu complained on social media, that police racially profiled him during that arrest.

On his LinkedIn account, it says Chamu is Co-President of the Pre-Law Coalition for Social Justice.

"I'm glad they caught the person, it's unfortunate for everybody who had it happen to them," said Craig, a Berkeley resident.

Chamu is scheduled to be arraigned on vandalism and hate crime charges Monday, July 24, 2017.
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