Watch CBS News

Two UC Students Charged With Vandalism For Racist Graffiti

BERKELEY (CBS SF) -- Two University of California at Berkeley students have been charged with felony vandalism for allegedly spray-painting graffiti against police officers and white people near the university's campus recently, prosecutors said.

Berkeley police said the graffiti that allegedly was painted by Ismael Chamu and Peter Estrada, both 21, who also are charged with misdemeanor possession of tools to commit vandalism or graffiti, was found on June 28 on people's cars and fences in areas south of the university's main campus.

UC Berkeley graffiti suspect Ismael Chamu
UC Berkeley graffiti suspect Ismael Chamu (CBS)

More specifically, Sgt. Peter Hong wrote in a probable cause declaration that the graffiti was found at a university dormitory at Durant Avenue and Dana Street, at the Clark Kerr Campus, in the 2400 block of Hillside Avenue, a fraternity house in the 2400 block of Prospect Street and the 2400 block of Durant Avenue.

Additional graffiti was found in the 2500 block of Dana Street, the 2500 block of Dwight Way, at Dana and Haste streets and at Haste and Ellsworth streets, Hong wrote.

Among the messages were "F--- White People," "F--- the police," "F--- frat Boys," "Kill Cops" and "Kill Yuppies," "Eat the Rich," "Class War" and "Black Lives Matter," Hong wrote.

Berkeley graffiti
Berkeley graffiti (CBS)

The graffiti also contained many messages about Philando Castile, a black man who was fatally shot by a police officer in Minnesota last year, according to Hong.

Chamu alleged in a Facebook post earlier this month being racially profiled, detained and mocked by Berkeley police seeking a burglary suspect on July 28, the day the vandalism was found. Chamu claimed he was unlawfully detained and held in jail for two days without any explanation or access to a lawyer, and then released with no charges.

The post and the Chamu's profile page have since been removed from Facebook.

A Berkeley Police Sgt. Andrew Frankel acknowledged there is an internal investigation surrounding Chamu's previous arrest on July 27.

A judge signed warrants for Chamu and Estrada on July 7 and Chamu was arrested at his recently acquired apartment in San Francisco on Thursday and Estrada was arrested at his apartment near the UC Berkeley campus on Friday, Hong wrote.

Chamu refused to speak to officers and invoked his right to an attorney, according to Hong.

Chamu's Facebook page included many messages that "were consistent with the graffiti messages," such as "f--- the police, rebellion, Black Lives Matter, God Bless Antifa, White Nationalism and supremacy, tech development and its negative impact on Black and Brown bodies," Hong wrote.

At Estrada's home, officers found many items belonging to Chamu, as well as many others related to anarchism and anti-fascism, according to Hong.

Hong wrote, "Estrada had numerous stickers and literature, but several were notable in their messages: Antifas with the Adidas brand symbol, Defending Our Hoods with a picture of a knife, Die Techie Scum, Attack White Supremacy, and Attack the Police which were consistent with the graffiti messages."

Estrada also declined to speak with police and asked for an attorney, according to Hong.

Berkeley police recommended that Chamu and Estrada be charged with hate crimes, but the Alameda County District Attorney's Office didn't file those charges against them.

A spokeswoman for the district attorney's office said, "After careful and thorough review, the charges filed against the two defendants were in line with what the evidence shows us."

Chamu and Estrada were scheduled to appear in Alameda County Superior Court Tuesday morning to be assigned attorneys and possibly enter pleas.

TM and © Copyright 2017 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Bay City News Service contributed to this report.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.