Protests over the killing of of George Floyd by a police officer in downtown Minneapolis came with waves of violence and looting across the country. In San Diego, the aftermath of prolonged protests that melded with rowdy rioters was over 100 arrests being made by the San Diego Police Department. At approximately 2:30 a.m. on Monday, June 1, the SDPD announced that the charges were diverse and included failure to disperse, assaulting officers, burglary, and vandalism.
Due to the unrest, officials decided to close all state buildings with offices located in the downtown area of the city on Monday. Amy Palmer, the spokeswoman for the state Government Operations Agency indicated that the decision was made after discussions between the California Highway Patrol and the Office of Emergency Services, where it was determined that the closures were necessary. The Department of Motor Vehicles all the way through offices that act to license workers and those that provide healthcare were closed down while urging those employees who can work from home to continue to do so.
The protests contained very tense moments. At one point, traffic on Interstate 5 was shut down by the protesters’ presence in the streets. In some instances, officers fired tear gas, flashbangs, and used less-lethal ammunition to control the unruly crowds. Much destruction to the community was left afterward. After the protests subsided, a large group of volunteers spent their day cleaning up businesses that were damaged and picked up debris on the ground from the chaos that took place earlier.
What is Considered “Vandalism”?
When an individual is determined and intent to destroy or bring about damages to property by way of trashing or tarnishing the appearance of the property, defacing it, or ruining it in such a way that its value is decreased, this act is considered vandalism. Vandalism is a willful crime and can include any of the following acts:
- Using a marker to write on a public bench
- Carving words, letters, or symbols into a public tree
- Scratching up a car or slashing tires
- Smashing windows
- Spray painting buildings
There are other terms that are used synonymously “vandalism.” These include “destruction of property” and “damage to property.” Depending on the state you live in, these terms may describe more serious forms of property destruction. Other states use these terms in tandem with vandalism keeping the crimes in the same category. Crimes associated with vandalism, therefore, vary by state, and as such, so do the penalties.
In general, in order for you to be proven guilty of committing vandalism, the prosecutor must successfully make the case that the following took place:
- Your acts resulted in physical damage
- Your damage was done to another owner’s property who did not give you permission to change their property’s appearance
- Your acts were done intentionally, not by accident