REDONDO BEACH (CBSLA) — Police say they’ve arrested a Redondo Beach man for defacing a homemade Black Lives Matter sign with racist language, an incident that’s being investigated as a hate crime.
Randall Michael Walton, 48, was arrested Friday at his home in Redondo Beach, Manhattan Beach police Sgt. Mark Valdivia said.
The incident happened on Aug. 29, when a self-made Black Lives Matter sign in the 500 block of South Helberta Avenue was found to have been defaced with language that police say was derogatory and racist language.
The sign had been scrawled several times with the N-word, swastikas, sexual images and the term “white power.”
“It’s a hate crime given the circumstance surrounding it. It involves slurs and derogatory terms of a specific race in this case,” said Redondo Beach Police Department Sgt. Mark Valdivia.
The owner of the property, Jeff Hazeltine, gave surveillance video to officers, who investigated the incident as a hate crime because of the language that had been scrawled on the sign.
Hazeltine said since early July, he and his daughter have hung up three similar signs, which have been torn down, vandalized with racial slurs, political messages, and in one instance, smeared with dog feces.
Despite the attacks, most of the people in his community and have been supportive about the signs and offered help to post new ones.
“We, the neighbors that I know, support it,” Clayduboff said. “What we don’t support are people coming and really desecrating and putting vile comments, hate crime comments, visuals.”
Hazeltine’s fourth Black Lives Matter sign is up and other visuals have also appeared throughout the community in support of the BLM movement.
Redondo Beach Police say they want residents to exercise their First Amendment rights but will not tolerate hate crimes and vandalism.
Walton has been taken to Redondo Beach Police Department for processing, and his case will be presented to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s office for filing consideration.