Jury Finds Man Guilty of Hate Crime at Summer Camp
News from the Office of District Attorney George Gascón
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 9, 2017
CONTACT: ALEX BASTIAN (415) 553-1931
MAXWELL SZABO (415) 553-9089
JURY FINDS MAN GUILTY OF HATE CRIME AT SUMMER CAMP
San Francisco – Today, District Attorney George Gascón announced that a jury found Steven Beck, age 37, guilty yesterday of a felony for brandishing a deadly weapon with a hate crime allegation, as well as an additional misdemeanor charge of brandishing a weapon.
“Hate crimes strike at the heart of this city’s identity,” said District Attorney George Gascón. “Far too many hate crimes go unreported, and that’s unfortunate in an era where it is imperative that we send a strong message that this community will not stand for intolerance.”
According to court records, on the morning of July 14th, 2016, Beck approached the Potrero Hill Neighborhood House while children were arriving to attend summer camp. The victim, an African American man who worked at the summer camp, was greeting kids as they arrived. Beck approached and began shouting racial slurs and profanity at the victim. Beck was shirtless with a large swastika tattoo on his chest and an iron cross tattoo on his neck, and the victim quickly noticed that the defendant had a knife in his waistband. The victim, fearing for the safety of the children, quickly ushered the campers into the building and directed the staff to close and lock all doors to the facility. With more children arriving, the victim stayed outside to get the kids indoors, at which time the defendant advanced towards the victim. The victim backed away and attempted to maintain his distance from the defendant, who continued to shout racial epithets. The victim circled back around to the entrance of the facility to assist additional children who were being dropped off, at which time the defendant pointed at his swastika tattoo, yelling, “this is for you,” before brandishing the knife and making slashing motions towards the victim. Additional racial slurs were yelled while he made slashing motions with the knife. Thankfully, the victim was not struck.
The defendant then walked down the street and walked onto the property of a private residence where he was directed by the homeowner to vacate. In response to being told to vacate the defendant brandished the knife at the homeowner, taunted him, and then left the property. At this time, SFPD arrived and promptly took Beck into custody.
A date for sentencing has not yet been scheduled. The Honorable Judge Hite presided. Special thanks go to SFPD Sgt. Douglas Farmer, as well as to Morris Moore of SFDA IT Support, Paralegal Sam Hadwan, and Victim Advocate Patricia Cuellar. Assistant District Attorney Blair McGregor prosecuted the case.