EL CERRITO (KRON) — El Cerrito police met with city officials Wednesday night to talk about an arson case, which is being investigated as a hate crime.
The meeting was open to the public at El Cerrito’s city hall. The incident happened last Wednesday when two fires were set beneath a car’s gas tank with a derogatory note found nearby with a racial slur written on it, police said.
“I was disturbed to learn a family in our community were victims of an alleged race-based hate crime last week,” Lyman said in a statement. “This unfortunate incident is not in character with the El Cerrito community and provides an opportunity to highlight our community’s commitment to diversity and inclusiveness,” Mayor Greg Lyman’s office said.
Police made a presentation on the investigation.
They were also asking people who live on Arlington Boulevard to share any surveillance footage they might have from last Wednesday. Specifically, police are looking for any vehicles, bicycles or pedestrians that were active between the aforementioned hours.
At the meeting, it was a show of support for the Gregory family, and a show of anger about a hate crime taking place in a diverse community in the modern age.
“I mean a family that is not bothering (anybody). Why (are) you going to tell somebody to move? If they paid for that house, it is their property. That’s their property. And, whatever color or race or whatever everybody live wherever they want to. It’s not on somebody to tell somebody where to live or where not to live. That’s stupid,” resident Todd Walker said.
The Gregory family said the support is nice, but the attack still keeps them up at night.
“We are doing the best we can,” hate crime victim Greg Gregory said. “The one thing we refuse to do is feel the need to leave our property. You still feel a little bit intimidated being there. Given what happened, my wife has had some nightmares. We just still don’t feel totally comfortable being at home.”
Anyone with video footage or additional information is asked to contact El Cerrito police investigators at (510) 215-4400 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
El Cerrito police were not immediately available to provide more details on the incident.
Bay City News contributed to this report