Holding Antisemites Accountable.

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Berkeley Mayoral Candidate Charged with Tagging Swastika, Other Antisemitic Graffiti on Synagogue

Freddie Smith.jpg

The Alameda County District Attorney’s Office has filed vandalism and hate crime charges against a man who was arrested on suspicion of spray painting a swastika and phrases about “evil Jews” on Temple Sinai in Oakland.

Freddie Smith, 57, was charged with three counts of vandalism along with enhancements alleging a hate crime. Smith is also known locally as Zachary Running Wolf, a former candidate for Berkeley mayor and participant in protests more than a decade ago over trees slated to be removed from the Cal campus.

A probable-cause statement says Smith was arrested half a mile from the temple with spray paint in his backpack, along with cards matching some of the graffiti patterns.

The complaint charges Smith with vandalizing the temple once in August and twice this month, on Oct. 5 and Oct. 17. The vandalism counts are charged as felonies, which requires prosecutors to prove the graffiti caused at least $400 worth of damage.

Smith refused to talk to police and asked for an attorney when he was arrested, police said.

Better known as Zachary Running Wolf, Smith’s history in Berkeley politics is well-known. In 2016, he ran his mayoral campaign from Santa Rita Jail after being charged with vandalism following an Oakland protest. He did not win the 2016 election and previously ran for prior races including in 2006.

Also in 2006, Smith was one of three who sat in a tree at UC Berkeley in a failed attempt to save an oak grove. He was detained by police and ordered not to return to campus. According to Berkeleyside, the city obtained a restraining order against him after he made death threats against the mayor last year.

According to jail records, he lists his race as American Indian, and his occupation as “native elder.”

Smith remains in custody at the Santa Rita Jail in Dublin in lieu of $150,000 bail, jail records show.