News & Politics

Antifa Radical Charged with Hateful Vandalism Raises Over $80k Thanks to L.A. Times Article

An antifa-supporting activist who was charged last summer for vandalizing people’s cars and fences with hateful, racist graffiti has raised over $80,000 in the past 24 hours, thanks to the sympathetic reporting of the Los Angeles Times, a watchdog has discovered.

Ismael Chamu, 21, allegedly spray-painted people’s cars and fences with “F— White People,” “F— the police,” “F— frat Boys,” “Kill Cops,” “Kill Yuppies,” “Eat the Rich,” and “Class War,” Far Left Watch reported. He was arrested on June 27, 2017, while brandishing a knife “in the same location and on the same night that 30 instances of slashed tires and graffiti occurred.”

He was initially released without charge after being in jail for 39 hours, whereupon he immediately accused the police of racially profiling him.  This led to a public outcry in support of Chamu and against the Berkeley Police Department. The Associated Students of the University of California (ASUC) and the Antifa-friendly Berkeley Mayor Jesse Arreguín publicly condemned the “unlawful detainment” of the “Latino student.”

It took Far Left Watch’s determined research to uncover the truth about this supposed victim of “racial profiling.” Chamu had recently published a (now deleted) blog post advocating for “anti-gentrification vandalism,” calling gentrification a “disease,” and praising the violent tactics of Antifa.

According to Far Left Watch, Chamu also published several inflammatory posts on his Facebook page, which has since been deleted entirely. The watchdog archived some of those posts, too:

After Far Left Watch publicized Chamu’s blog posts calling for the destruction of property, the Berkeley Police Department arrested him again and charged him with the crimes.

Since his arrests last summer, the student radical has fallen on hard times, and the L.A. Times has decided to take up his cause.

The paper ran a heart-tugging piece titled “He attends elite UC Berkeley but lives in a trailer with no heat or sewer hookups. Soon, he’ll be scrambling to find new shelter.“

The Times article portrays Chamu as a victim of the system whose financial aid does not fully cover the cost of his housing.  It features poignant black and white photographs of the activist’s struggle to survive.

The original version of the article, however, failed to mention his affiliation with Antifa and neglected to mention his two arrests last year. It took multiple Twitter users pointing out the omitted information for the Times to update the article with the following editor’s note:

This article has been updated to include details of Ismael’s arrest last year on vandalism charges. He has pleaded not guilty and has not been convicted.

In the meantime, reporters from big news outlets expressed support for Chamu on Twitter.

Jose Del Real is a correspondent for the New York Times:

Melanie Mason is a political reporter for the L.A. Times.

YouCaring account for Chamu has now raised over $82,000, which he allegedly will use “to support his two sisters, younger brother, mom and dad.” The money raised “will be used to buy food, secure housing, and school supplies,” according to the post.