Suspect Arrested in Anti-Chinese Graffiti Case, Supervisor Makes Pro-Chinese Political Hay

The police have arrested a suspect in the case of racist, anti-Chinese graffiti that was painted around the Portola and Bayview neighborhoods over the weekend. On Sunday, the slogan “NO MORE CHINESE” was spray-painted in large orange letters in six locations. 

62-year-old John Schenone was arrested and booked into the county jail on suspicion of five felony hate crime counts and five felony vandalism counts. 

According to SFPD, the incident was “immediately determined to be hate motivated” and investigated by SFPD's hate crime unit. 

News of the arrest was broken by Supervisor Julie Christensen, who represents District 3, far from the Portola. Christensen posted about the arrest on Facebook an hour before the police made their announcement and released a statement saying, ““Thanks to the diligent and swift actions of our city staff, a suspect has been arrested last night. Disrespect for our fellow residents and visitors, especially based on ethnicity, is not and will not be tolerated in San Francisco.” 

As the San Francisco Chronicle reported yesterday, Christensen has been a frequent target of criticism in the Chinese language press during her campaign for the November election. Christensen is running against Aaron Peskin and Wilma Pang in a district that includes Chinatown. Christina Chen, an attorney who worked with the Chronicle to translate Chinese language election coverage, commented that Christensen's frequent faux-pas were in some cases clear misinterpretations but also suggested that she “has not had much contact with or working with people of color.”

[jump] Christensen's interest in the anti-Chinese graffiti case looks like an attempt to win points with Chinese voters. Prior to the arrest, aide Gary McCoy says that she was working with the Department of Public Works to try to arrange an award for information leading to the arrest of the perpetrator. Asked about her particular interest in the case, he wrote to SF Weekly, “Supervisor Christensen is involved because our district encompasses a very large concentration of Chinese Americans. While this happened outside of our district, the idea that this is happening in San Francisco, exuding such hate to our residents and visitors, is appalling.”

Supervisor David Campos, whose district includes the Portola, told SF Weekly, “I'm grateful to SFPD for making this arrest so quickly. It's important to send a clear message that hate crimes against any community will not be tolerated. In this difficult time it's important that we all come together and unite against hate.” 

Campos is taking part in a “Peace and Unity Rally” to “express pride, support, and solidarity with the Chinese residents and merchants” in the Portola tomorrow evening. 

This post has been updated to reflect that Supervisor Christensen represents District 3, not District 6. 

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