A man arrested in connection with anti-Chinese graffiti in the Portola and Bayview neighborhoods of San Francisco was found guilty today of misdemeanor vandalism and hate crime charges.
John Schenone, 62, of San Francisco, was found guilty of 13 misdemeanors including seven counts of vandalism and six counts of a hate crime by way of defacing property, prosecutors said.
Schenone was arrested Sept. 8, a day after spray-painted graffiti reading “No more Chinese” was found in bright orange letters at six locations in the Portola and Bayview neighborhoods.
Investigators identified Schenone as a suspect in the case after they obtained surveillance video showing both him and his vehicle, a 1980s model white pickup truck, at two of the places defaced. He was known to officers at the San Francisco police department’s Bayview Station, prosecutors said.
“Racism has no place in San Francisco,” District Attorney George Gascón said today following the verdict. “We pride ourselves on being a diverse, tolerant and inclusive city. Actions such as these strike at the heart of who we are and the values we hold dear.”
Deputy Public Defender Bonnie Chan, who represented Schenone, today said she was “extremely disappointed” with the verdict and planned to file a motion for a new trial.
“We all have a Constitutional right to express our opinions, however unpopular they may be with the public,” Chan said, noting that the judge had reduced the charges from felonies to misdemeanors because Schenone did not threaten, target or physically harm anyone.
“Like it or not, racism alone is not a crime,” Chan said. “From the beginning, this case has been based on emotions rather than law.”
Schenone is scheduled to return to court Feb. 5 for sentencing.
Sara Gaiser, Bay City News