Conclusion of Emeryville hate crime case hits hiccup over police racism allegation

  • by John Ferrannini, Assistant Editor
  • Thursday December 21, 2023
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A man accused of hate crime vandalism at an Emeryville senior housing facility will be in a deferment program after a deal was reached between his defense attorney and prosecutors in an Oakland courtroom. Photo: John Ferrannini
A man accused of hate crime vandalism at an Emeryville senior housing facility will be in a deferment program after a deal was reached between his defense attorney and prosecutors in an Oakland courtroom. Photo: John Ferrannini

The case of the man prosecutors say committed hate crime vandalism at an Emeryville senior housing facility isn't over yet, as his attorney claims he is owed a remedy for alleged racism by police.

As the Bay Area Reporter previously reported Ayman Badr, 64, a former resident at the facility, 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. Badr was evicted from the housing complex after the incident, Rosales said.

The final details were partly worked out December 20 in Department 106 at the Wiley W. Manuel Courthouse in downtown Oakland, with Alameda County Superior Court Judge Sharon L. Djemal presiding.

The district attorney's office and Badr's attorney, Alameda County Deputy Public Defender Karl Lindemann, have agreed on most of a deal to send Badr to deferment. The timeframe would be six months, which started November 29, with Badr being required to obey all laws during that time.

They also agreed Badr should attend some kind of sensitivity training, though Lindemann said the one suggested by the victims only makes sense in a corporate setting. He also objected to a one-on-one training session, saying those might be expensive, and "I don't know if Mr. Badr can afford that type of class."

Assistant District Attorney Angela Frances Steffes said that a less specific training would be OK.

"To me, it's just, be sensitive, even if it's not specifically LGBT," she said.

Djemal said that the Safe Zone Project provides trainings.

"There's a guided online course," she said. "There's also a foundational two-hour curriculum."

Lindemann said it looked like that was for educators. The website itself states that course is specifically for those who "teach about sexuality, gender, and LGBTQ+ identities."

It was agreed that the best solution might be for Badr to review the material and then provide a written summary.

Lindemann objected to the original proposal by those seeking restitution from Badr, an LGBTQ+ sensitivity training with OPEN Pride, saying when he called "oddly the same person who submitted a restitution claim," Tim Fisher, answered the phone. Lindemann thought it would be inappropriate for a person seeking restitution to also lead a sensitivity training for Badr.

Fisher is the man identified in the last B.A.R. report as someone who might receive $93.84 in restitution from Badr. Rosales would get $121.40.

The Peer Advocates website states Fisher is "an experienced restorative justice practitioner, group facilitator, peer specialist, and a trainer and consultant focused on issues of the LGBTQI+, senior, and incarcerated men communities."

Fisher told the B.A.R. in a December 21 phone call unequivocally that "I did not have a phone conversation with Karl Lindemann."

"We've exchanged emails and there is an effort underway to be able to find someone to offer the training to Ayman Badr but that is in process," he said. "My understanding is Beth had given three suggestions — Peer Advocates, Pacific Center, and maybe the third was Open Pride. I did not have any phone conversations with Karl Lindemann. I'm not at Open Pride, but I did email back and forth about Peer Advocates. It's still being processed."

Fisher, who is in line to get restitution because he bought the materials Badr tore down, said Badr does need education.

"The people exposed to his anger were quite frightened by him," Fisher said. "Avalon Senior Housing is subsidized senior housing and there's been a lot of discussion in circles I'm a part of about how seniors of a certain age, who came up in the 1960s, 1970s, who were very active in advocating for LGBTQ+ rights, find themselves backtracking on their own open identity in environments where they're either not openly welcomed or there are not a lot of other LGBTQ seniors and I think this incident at Avalon is a glaring example."

Discrimination by police alleged

The second issue was Lindemann's claim that the Emeryville police were illegally discriminatory against Badr by mentioning his national origin in a report. Rosales said he is originally 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 at the previous hearing. "It's very rare we find explicit ... racism and bias."

Lindemann said December 20 that "Mr. Badr is willing to accept any conditions the court imposes, but I cannot let that issue slide."

Alameda County Superior Court Judge Pelayo A. Llamas Jr. had said at the last hearing that he wasn't going to rule on that matter. Djemal and Steffes agreed to read Lindemann's petition, which will be discussed at the next court date, January 24 at 9 a.m. in Department 106.

"A remedy, if at all, should come from here," Lindemann said, suggesting the six months could be shortened to three if the sensitivity training goes through.

The B.A.R. had the opportunity to speak with Badr 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 told the B.A.R., reached for comment December 20, that "I guess we wait. ... It's difficult for me to comment."

Emeryville police did not return requests for comment in this matter this month, or last.

Updated, 12/21/23: This article has been updated with comments from Tim Fisher.

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.

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