A suspect who allegedly tagged a Duboce Park garage door with a racial slur on August 15th was arrested on August 30th by officers with Northern Station, we've learned.
"I'm happy to report that the suspect is now in custody," said Park District Capt. John Sanford, Jr. during a monthly community meeting on September 9th. Officer Grace Gatpandan, a SFPD public information officer, said suspect Billy Samuels, 46, was arrested at Fell and Octavia after officers recognized him from security camera footage captured on the evening of August 15th. [Update: Samuels failed to appear in court on September 24th and a bench warrant was issued for his arrest.]
Justin Kan's security video.
In the video, recorded by resident Justin Kan, a perpetrator wrote "Fuck You Gook!" on Kan's garage door. Afterwards, a crime bulletin with still photos taken from the video was distributed to SFPD patrol officers, as the incident was one of several hate crimes to take place around the city in recent weeks. Sanford said the incident may be tied in to other "hate-based types of crimes."
Gatpandan said officers attempted to detain Samuels after recognizing him as a person of interest in the August 15th incident, and that Samuels attempted to flee on a bicycle before being apprehended. Officers determined that Samuels had multiple outstanding warrants for traffic and parole violations and booked him into SF County Jail. According to the Sheriff's Department, Samuels is no longer in custody; we contacted the city's Superior Court to find out if he was released on bail, but were not able to get more information.
He's charged with vandalism with a hate crime enhancement, resisting arrest, obstructing a police officer from performing their official duty, possession of drug paraphernalia, possession of graffiti tools and probation violations. According to California Penal Code, vandalism with a hate crime enhancement can be prosecuted as a misdemeanor, which could result in a year-long bid in county jail, as well as a $5,000 fine or as much as 400 hours of community service.Without footage from Kan's security camera, Sanford said it would have been far more difficult to identify a suspect. "I cannot express how important it is to us. If you have footage, we encourage you to give us a call."
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