Earlier this summer, a University of California at Berkeley student claimed police “racially profiled” and held him “without explanation or justification.” After that purported incident in June, it may (or may not) come as a surprise the Berkeley student involved, Ismael Chamu, has now been officially arrested for charges of hate crimes and felony vandalism.
Sources say Chamu Berkeley police officers picked up Chamu a few days ago, and he is now sitting in jail with bail set at $85,000. The charges reportedly include “felony vandalism causing $400 or more in damage, the commission of a hate crime, hate-crime enhancements and conspiracy.”
Police first detained Chamu at the end of June for a suspected weapons violation—in the same neighborhood and around the same time the vandalism occurred. Officers reportedly saw Chamu hide an illegal spring-loaded knife when they approached him after a burglary had been reported in the area. It was eventually determined he was not involved with the burglary. However, sources say as the story’s details became more clear, citizens began to wonder if he was involved with the vandalism that struck the neighborhood.
Police have counted more than 35 acts of vandalism—including graffiti on cars and fences, and at least 17 vehicles had their tires slashed. The graffiti included phrases like “F—k white people” and “FTP (anti-police acronym).” The comments against white people are what makes this a hate crime, according to police. Chamu has openly criticized “police and the legal system, gentrification, the tech industry, “the right wing” and “their free speech,” among other things, on Facebook in recent months.
After Chamu blasted Berkeley PD for detaining him the first time, the Associated Students of California were quick to rally behind him and show their support—even without being given the details of the “incident.” But it seems crying wolf won’t keep you from facing arrest. Chamu and another Berkeley student facing the same charges, Peter Estrada, will be arraigned Monday.