Hate crime investigation launched after Black sheriff's campaign sign defaced

Authorities in Sonoma County are investigating the recent vandalism of a sheriff candidate’s campaign sign as a possible hate crime.

Sonoma County Asst. Sheriff Eddie Engram, who is Black, is running in the June 7 election to replace outgoing Sheriff Mark Essick.

Investigators say someone scrawled a racist message on one of his campaign signs in Monte Rio along the Russian River last weekend.

"A racial comment was left," said Sgt. Juan Valencia. "It's considered a hate crime based on state law. So, we have zero tolerance for hate crimes on our county and we do whatever we can to obviously investigate it, collect evidence and stuff like that."

Investigators are now talking to people who live and work near the sign, in their search for the person responsible for the vandalism

They say this marks the fifth time someone targeted one of Engram's sign since he launched his campaign for sheriff last fall.