A 24-year-old San Francisco woman was arraigned this morning in San Francisco Superior Court on vandalism and hate crime charges after allegedly spray-painting racist and anarchist graffiti throughout the city.
Katherine Dunbar is suspected of defacing city buildings, storefronts and private homes with swastikas, the letters “KKK,” and anarchist symbols between Jan. 18 and May 17, prosecutor Victor Hwang said.
Police cited Dunbar during Sunday’s Bay to Breakers race after she was spotted spray-painting similar graffiti on portable toilets along the race route at Hayes and Buchanan streets, Hwang said.
She was arrested Monday after allegedly spray-painting more graffiti on the outside walls of the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium and the War Memorial Opera House, tagging a city vehicle outside City Hall with the words “smash the state,” and “KKK” and then biting a police officer who attempted to detain her, Hwang said.
Hwang today argued before Judge Samuel Feng for Dunbar’s bail to be set at $377,000 for what he called a “string of hate-crime related vandalism.”
“She’s caused thousands of dollars’ worth of damage,” Hwang said, adding that Dunbar allegedly admitted the acts to police.
Perhaps most disturbing, Hwang said, were felony charges of assault and dissuading a witness after Dunbar allegedly attempted to spray-paint an African-American man who tried to report the Bay to Breakers vandalism on Sunday and then allegedly made racial comments to him and threatened him with false claims of rape if he reported the incidents.
She is also accused of earlier crimes in which swastikas were spray-painted outside the home of a gay couple and outside two Arab-owned stores on Divisadero Street, according to Hwang.
Feng agreed the case was unusual.
“These are not ordinary charges,” he said, adding that he was “quite concerned” about the hate crimes allegations.
In all, Dunbar is facing five felony vandalism counts with attached hate crimes allegations, four misdemeanor vandalism counts, and counts of felony assault, felony dissuading a witness, misdemeanor battery on a police officer and misdemeanor possession of graffiti instruments.
Dunbar’s newly appointed attorney from the public defender’s office, Sarah Hefling, noted her client has no prior criminal history. Hefling entered not-guilty pleas to all the charges on Dunbar’s behalf.
Hefling is also requesting a mental health evaluation of her client.
Feng set bail at $250,000. Dunbar is due back in court Friday for a hearing.
Photo of defaced portable toilets from Bay To Breakers: Andrew Dalton/Aggressive Panhandler