San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo’s home was vandalized Friday night by protesters who marched to the mayor’s house after spending the afternoon protesting the police shooting of Jacob Blake.
Liccardo, along with a handful of his neighbors, scrubbed off the graffiti late Friday after protesters ran off.
Earlier Friday, about 150 protesters marched near San Jose City Hall as part of what began as a peaceful Black Lives Matter protest. The demonstrators chanted and carried signs that read “Stop killing us” and “Defund SJPD.”
But by nightfall, a smaller group of 30 to 40 protesters broke off and headed a few blocks away to Liccardo’s downtown home. With music blasting and cheers erupting, one man wearing all black began to spray paint “F— 12” on the mayor’s front door.
The number 12 is code for police.
Demonstrators spray paint over San José Mayor Sam Liccardo’s house.
— Luke Johnson (@Scoop_Johnson) August 29, 2020
Others, wearing black masks, flocked to the front window of the home and also began spray painting the words “BLM” and “San Jose will be free.” Some protesters cheered them on while others urged them to stop.
“Let him f—– know,” one woman is heard shouting.
Other demonstrators told San José Spotlight that they “don’t agree with this.” Liccardo’s window, ironically, had a “Black Lives Matter” sign on it and the house was dark. Liccardo was not home, according to his spokeswoman, though he later emerged to help clean up the graffiti.
Protesters also set fire near the sidewalk, on dirt, in front of Liccardo’s house. The fire lasted for only a couple minutes. Liccardo said Saturday the protesters were burning a flag.
Liccardo’s spokeswoman, Rachel Davis, said the mayor was not prepared to comment on the vandalism Friday night.
About an hour after the house was spray painted, a video posted on Twitter by Dylan Bouscher showed Liccardo and his neighbors had scrubbed off the graffiti. By midnight, the house was back to normal.
Liccardo on Saturday morning released a statement saying what happened does not represent the Black Lives Matter movement but rather a few irresponsible people. He expressed gratitude for his neighbors stepping up to help him clean off the graffiti.
“I’m tremendously heartened by the response of dozens of my neighbors who dropped everything late last night to spend a couple of hours scrubbing graffiti from Jessica’s and my home,” he said. “Many of these same neighbors’ homes bear “Black Lives Matter” signs, and they represent the true spirit of the movement, and of our San Jose community. They contrast sharply with the roughly hundred so-called ‘protesters’ who stood by silently — or even cheered — as a flag was burned and while ‘f*ck you’ and other messages were scrawled on our home.”
To clarify, the graffiti said “F—- 12” referring to the police, not Liccardo.
Earlier Friday, Black Lives Matter demonstrators arrived at City Hall around 6 p.m. to protest the police-involved shooting of Blake in Kenosha, Wis. on Aug. 23.
Blake, a 29-year-old man, was shot seven times by a white police officer in the back. He is paralyzed from the waist down and faces multiple surgeries.
As protesters chanted and marched through the city’s downtown, organizers passed out free water and combat shields. They also demonstrated how to use the shields when being attacked. Protesters held signs that read “Defund SJP” and “Abolish Ice”– among other messages.
They chanted, “Take it to the streets and f— the police. No justice, no peace.”
Around 8:30 p.m., protesters moved the demonstration a few blocks down to San Pedro Square and marched by customers who were dining outdoors. Some of the customers stood up and showed their support for the protest.
While at San Pedro Square, some protestors played music and danced to “Cupid Shuffle” while others started their two-mile march to Liccardo’s house.
San Jose has come under fire for its confrontational response in May to protesters who marched against the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis. Police officers shot rounds of rubber bullets into crowds, wounding peaceful protesters and causing eye and head injuries.
Liccardo has been criticized for opposing demands to defund the police, but instead called for police reforms, including banning the use of rubber bullets in crowds and increasing the powers of the independent police auditor.
The police reforms will be considered by the San Jose City Council in September.
Contact Luke Johnson at [email protected] and follow @Scoop_Johnson on Twitter.