Diversion likely for Emeryville hate crime defendant

  • by John Ferrannini, Assistant Editor
  • Wednesday November 29, 2023
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A man charged with vandalism for tearing down a Pride display likely will be accepted into a diversion program, an Alameda County Superior Court judge decided November 29. Photo: John Ferrannini
A man charged with vandalism for tearing down a Pride display likely will be accepted into a diversion program, an Alameda County Superior Court judge decided November 29. Photo: John Ferrannini

The case of the man prosecutors allege committed hate crime vandalism at an Emeryville senior housing facility will likely go to diversion instead of trial.

As the Bay Area Reporter previously reported, Ayman Badr, 64, has been charged with one count of vandalism under $400 and another of "violation of civil rights." He is alleged by Beth Rosales, a resident at the Avalon Senior Housing community in Emeryville, to have torn down a Pride display in June after making a homophobic rant.

The final details are set to be worked out December 20 in Department 108 at the Wiley W. Manuel Courthouse in downtown Oakland. A pretrial hearing November 29 was originally to occur November 1 but was pushed back after Badr's attorney requested a continuance.

At the hearing in Department 106, Judge Pelayo A. Llamas Jr. said, "I feel that where there's a conflict between different belief systems and values the best way is to try to bridge them first, rather than to punish."

To that end, he agreed to support a deal between the Alameda County District Attorney's office and Badr — 10 hours community service, $121.40 in restitution to Rosales, $93.84 in restitution to another person, and a letter of apology.

Alameda County Deputy Public Defender Karl Lindemann, representing Badr, requested a three-week continuance so that he and the DA's office could discuss which specific "LGBTQ+ sensitivity training course" Badr should attend as part of the deal.

Rosales, who has been married to a woman for 13 years but is now separated, suggested one through OPEN Pride, according to Deputy District Attorney Mas Morimoto, but Lindemann said he wanted to do more research in consultation with Morimoto.

Lindemann said the Emeryville Police Department treated his client differently because of his national origin and religion, even noting them in a police report. Rosales had told the B.A.R. last month that Badr hails from Egypt.

"The DA's proposed terms are commensurate with the allegations, but I would suggest in light of the claims made by the police officer in the police report that the court is empowered to make any remedy in the interest of justice," Lindemann said. "It's very rare we find explicit ... racism and bias."

Llamas said that the court would not be ruling on the question of whether Badr was illegally discriminated against, but said Lindemann could bring that to "another venue." The judge noted the "many pages of supportive letters for the defendant."

"You have criticisms about the facts the officer put into the report," Llamas said. "I make no judgments about whether that was appropriate or not. The underlying behavior is what I'm focusing on. Mr. Badr has certain beliefs, contrary to the signage, and in our society and law those are permitted as well; obviously, there are limits to that, which he crossed."

The Emeryville Police Department did not immediately return a request for comment.

Badr was not in attendance at the hearing. The B.A.R. had the opportunity to speak with him in person October 24, at which time he declined to give contact information, saying, "I don't want to talk to you. You published information that's unfair and actually also you published information that's not correct. I will hold you responsible for it. You tarnished my reputation and took one side of the story."

Rosales had told the B.A.R. that Badr's behavior frightened her, leading her to decide to inform the police.

"I don't want to put myself under the rage of this man," she said last month.

Badr has since been removed from the complex's steering committee and was evicted from the complex altogether.

There's a "zero tolerance policy" there for hate actions, Rosales said. She told the B.A.R. that Badr claimed he put a sign in between the LGBT banners saying that "he only supported heterosexual marriage," and claimed it was torn down.

"He said he tore down the banners because someone tore down his little comment," Rosales said. "Whether or not he put up a note, he didn't have the right to do that."

After print deadline for this report, Rosales returned the B.A.R.'s phone call.

"I'm not sure about the 10 hours of community service — I don't know what he would learn — but I think the restitution, and frankly I'm really not expecting a sincere apology, but maybe he's learned a lesson with all of these court sessions," she said. "He certainly had to make the time to appear in court. That in itself is a teachable moment for him."

Rosales said an initial proposal for him to do community service at an LGBTQ center was scrapped.

"I don't know the extent of what else the judge is thinking about, but I'm actually helping the DA's office," she said.

The DA's office did not return a request for comment for this report.

Marsh hearing delayed — again

Also at the Wiley W. Manuel Courthouse, the preliminary hearing of the UC Berkeley employee charged in the killing of Curtis Marsh, a gay Black man, in Oakland earlier this year was pushed back to the new year.

The preliminary hearing was rescheduled by the request of the DA's office on October 17 to November 17, as the B.A.R. previously reported. Before the November 17 hearing, David Briggs, the attorney for defendant Sweven Waterman, heard from the DA's office requesting another continuance. The hearing is now scheduled for January 10 in Department 111. Waterman has pleaded not guilty to the charges.

The State of California offers help for victims or witnesses to a hate crime or hate incident. This resource is supported in whole or in part by funding provided by the State of California, administered by the California State Library in partnership with the California Department of Social Services and the California Commission on Asian and Pacific Islander American Affairs as part of the Stop the Hate program. To report a hate incident or hate crime and get support, go to CA vs Hate.

Updated, 11/29/23: This article has been updated with comments from Beth Rosales.

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