SF D.A. encouraging victims to report hate crimes after racist graffiti suspect arrested

Victims of hate crimes in San Francisco are being encouraged to report the crimes to the District Attorney's Office's Hate Crime hotline, District Attorney George Gascon announced today, in light of a recent rise in reported incidents involving racist and anti-immigrant sentiments in the city.
During the news conference at the Hall of Justice this morning announcing the republishing of the hotline, Gascon was joined by San Francisco Human Rights Commissioners Susan Christian and Hala Hijazi, police Cmdr. Greg McEachern and Paul Henderson, Deputy Chief of Staff for Mayor Ed Lee.
Due to the current political climate, which resulted in Donald Trump being declared president-elect last week, McEachern estimated that hate crimes in the city have gone up a little over 10 percent this year compared to last year, with two notable incidents happening this week alone.
On Thursday, around 4:15 p.m., a witness reported seeing a person spraying a racist epithet and a symbol on the wall of a business in the 1400 block of Egbert Avenue. The suspect also sprayed gold-colored paint onto the hood of a parked Toyota pickup truck, police said.
Officers were able to arrest the suspect, identified as 33-year-old San Francisco resident David Chacon, on suspicion of felony vandalism and a hate crime enhancement, according to police.
Prior to that, on Monday morning, a male suspect allegedly shoved and grabbed a woman by her neck as she was pushing a stroller, carrying two small children. The suspect told the woman, in Spanish, "no Latinos here," according to U.S. Park Police.
The incident happened around 10:47 a.m. at the Great Meadow at Fort Mason. A jogger in the area intervened and called 911.
When responding officers tried to arrest the suspect, he became confrontational. Officers then arrested him on suspicion of resisting arrest and he was taken to San Francisco General Hospital to undergo a psychiatric evaluation, park officials said.
The suspect's identity in that incident has not been released.
"We as a nation, and certainly here in San Francisco, we will not tolerate hate and abuse without consequence. This is not what our community is about. And I hope that we serve as a beacon of hope for people everywhere in this country," Gascon said.
"We are now seeing Muslim Americans that are fearful of walking our streets. We are now seeing people of Latin descent that can no longer feel safe going to our schools. And we must make it very, very clear that that will not be tolerated in San Francisco," Gascon said.
Hijazi, who is of Muslim descent, broke down in tears describing what she called "physiological warfare" toward Muslims, the LGBT community, immigrant communities and African Americans as well as other minorities in the current political climate.
"This has been personal to me. I'm a professional and I don't even wear a hijab. But I worry about my sisters that do and my nieces and nephews in their schools. We need to stand up as one."
The District Attorney's Office is encouraging victims of hate crimes to call the office's hotline at (415) 551-9595. During off hours, callers can leave a message, or call 911 for immediate assistance.
The city's Human Rights Commission is also encouraging victims to call their support number at (415) 252-2500.
Additionally, police provided their 24-hour tip line at (415) 575-4444, where victims can speak to an officer to report a hate-related incident. Victims can also text TIP411 and start the message with SFPD to report an incident.
Gascon stressed that victims reporting hate crimes will not be questioned about their immigration status.
"I urge everyone to recognize that we all play a role. It's not only up to the DA's office, the police, or Mayor's Office, or the Human Rights Commission, or community groups. It's up to everyone, every woman, every man of good character in our community to stand up together and say this is not going to happen here," Gascon said.