A Redwood City council candidate who discovered apparent anti-gay graffiti on the fence behind his apartment was not the victim of a hate crime, as the graffiti was discovered to have pre-dated the candidate’s tenancy at the property, according to an investigation by the Redwood City Police Department.
The issue came up during Friday’s Climate Forum, when Jason Galisatus, long an activist in the LGBTQ community, answered a question on diversity by recounting how earlier that day, he discovered an apparent anti-gay slur — #gay” — tagged on his landlord’s fence. Galisatus notified the Redwood City Police Department about the graffiti.
Galisatus noticed the graffiti after finding that one of the campaign signs had gone missing from a public-facing fence.
“He found the sign on the ground at the base of the fence,” according to the police statement. “Facing the street on the opposite side of the fence was spray panted wording he believed was directed at him. The spray-painted wording appeared to Mr. Galisatus to say “#Gay.”
With the help of Google Maps, police determined the graffiti had been there months before Galisatus moved in. Detectives said the faded graffiti made it difficult to determine whether the graffiti stated #GAY or a different variation of letters.
“With regard to the campaign sign, it appears that it was either taken down intentionally or fell due to wind or other weather conditions,” police said, adding, “There was no evidence of damage or defacement of the sign.”
Galisatus expressed relief over the police findings and praised the police department’s quick response. He also said he regrets the “pain the ordeal has caused our community.” He said before moving in, his landlord, friends and neighbors hadn’t noticed the graffiti.
“I only saw it when I went to fix my campaign sign that was taken down,” he said. “I was acutely sensitive to this, as I have encountered other instances of homophobia on the campaign trail.”
Galisatus added, “Unfortunately, the reality remains that someone left this hateful message,” and added that more needs to be done to promote inclusivity.
“I am glad we are having this important community dialogue,” he said. “I am so proud and grateful that all seven candidates and our community spoke in a singular voice that hate has no place in Redwood City.”
Galisatus said he did not regret raising the issue.
“I hope this incident serves as a reminder for all of us that hate still exists, even in our wonderful community,” he said.