Berkeley Police Department arrested a suspect shortly after he allegedly tied a noose to a tree at the Berkeley Marina on Thursday.
A city of Berkeley staff member saw the suspect tying the noose and confronted him. Before the suspect fled the scene, the staff member took a photograph of him, and he was later identified as 32-year-old Jaime Robledo-Espino.
BPD officers detained Robledo-Espino on University Avenue, and they arrested him on suspicion of drug possession and hanging a noose in public. BPD spokesperson Officer Byron White said he has no information on a possible motive for the crime.
Berkeley Mayor Jesse Arreguín said in an email that he thanks BPD for quickly apprehending the suspect of the “appalling” act, and he asked the Alameda County district attorney to treat the incident as a hate crime.
According to Arreguín, there has been an increase in hate crimes since the 2016 election. He added that this year, there has been a pattern of these incidents in Berkeley and throughout the country in response to social movements such as Black Lives Matter.
“Racism and hate crimes have no place in our community and will never be tolerated,” Arreguín said in the email. “Berkeley takes pride in our diversity and our status as a sanctuary city.”
In July, Arreguín submitted a proposal that includes making information more accessible to the public and creating a hate crime reporting hotline to make the process easier for victims, according to an Oct. 5 City Council Public Safety Policy Committee record. The proposal is currently being discussed in the committee.
Arreguín added that Berkeley is working against “xenophobic hatred” through the Berkeley Stands United Against Hate campaign, which was launched three years ago. This year’s campaign will take place from Nov. 29 to Dec. 5.
“We encourage people to organize socially distant neighborhood events and to pick up a sign at City Hall,” Arreguín said in the email.