Issue:  Vol. 48 / No. 12 / 22 March 2018

Anti-Trump SF artist jailed for ‘racist’ graffiti explains acts

David Chacon. (Photo: Facebook)

David Chacon in a photo posted to Facebook in 2013.

A San Francisco artist who was jailed recently on vandalism and hate crime charges said he’d spray painted a swastika and the words “Fuck white people” on a Bayview district brewery while he was “wasted” and thinking about President-elect Donald Trump.

“It’s not a racist thing, it’s not a hate thing,” David Chacon, 33, said during a jailhouse interview Tuesday, November 22, hours before he was set to be released.

He said he’d been trying to express his feelings, but “it just comes out so horrible. It’s dumb. It’s not helping. … I’m truly sorry. This is definitely something I didn’t want to happen.”

According to police, at about 4:15 p.m. Thursday, November 17, Chacon “was observed spray painting a racist epithet and a symbol on the wall of a business” in the 1400 block of Egbert Street. He then sprayed gold colored paint onto the hood of a parked Toyota pickup truck.” He was taken into custody and charged with felony vandalism and a hate crime enhancement.

Chacon, who’s Hispanic, said he’d had seven shots of whiskey on an empty stomach near the Laughing Monk Brewery, 1439 Egbert, Thursday, and he and a Native American friend “were going off about how Trump won” the presidency. The drinking “amplified my anger about the whole thing,” he said. “…I was not thinking straight.”

He’d also been thinking about friends of his who are also queer people of color and who have expressed anger about white people and gentrification. Asked about his own orientation, Chacon said he’s “not gay. I guess you could say ‘queer,’ but I don’t really do identities, to be honest.”

As for spray-painting the truck, Chacon said, “Did I put something on a truck?” He said he may have painted another swastika.

“If something funky was on the truck, it was probably my doing as well,” he said.

He said that after he made the graffiti, he got into an argument with people from the brewery. He couldn’t remember what was said, but there was “a whole lot of yelling back and forth,” and “I wasn’t making any sense.” Soon, police came, and Chacon said he “surrendered immediately.”

“I definitely sobered up once I got put away here,” Chacon said.

“I did do it,” he said of the graffiti. “There’s no doubt about it. I was caught red-handed.”

Chacon likened Trump to Adolf Hitler and said the president-elect’s bigoted rhetoric has “put a face” to white supremacy in the country.

He regrets the way he expressed himself last week, though, and said, “I’ve got to work on my message big time.”

He also said he doesn’t have anything against Jewish people, and “I really don’t have anything against any race.” Chacon added that he has white friends and he has an ex-girlfriend who’s white. The hate crime allegation has been dropped, he said.

The Bayview is one of the many San Francisco neighborhoods where people have expressed concern that residents who are people of color are being priced out by high-income white people and the businesses that cater to them. Chacon said he doesn’t have anything against the Laughing Monk, though.

“It could have been any brewery, or any businesses,” he said.

Chacon, who indicated he’d pleaded not guilty in this case, said he’s previously been detained for public intoxication. He’d been held on $78,000 bail – a relatively minor amount – but said friends of his had refused to get him out, telling him he needed to think about what he did.

“This whole thing shook my whole life up, and not in a good way,” Chacon said. “…It was a wake up call for me.”

Sheriff’s department records indicate Chacon is out of custody. His next court date couldn’t immediately be confirmed. Calls to Laughing Monk and Deputy Public Defender Phoenix Streets, Chacon’s attorney, weren’t returned Wednesday afternoon.

— Seth Hemmelgarn, November 23, 2016 @ 1:57 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized

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