The day after some mysterious graffiti roiled San Francisco's French American International School with fears of an ISIS message, police say that they've nabbed the tagger, and determined that the spray-painted message was not a hate crime.
When San Francisco Police Department officers were called to the school on reports of a troubling tag Tuesday, initial reports raised concerns that the graffiti, spray-painted on a playground wall, depicted a symbol of ISIS, the terrorist group behind last week's series of coordinated attacks in Paris.
After investigation, however, police said that the image was instead "an eight pointed star with a crescent moon" and "a number seven" (subsequent images bore that description out), "a symbol affiliated with the 'Five-Percent Nation,' an offshoot of the Nation of Islam founded in New York and frequently referenced in hip-hop lyrics," ABC7 reports.
According to a press release sent by SFPD, "Video surveillance obtained from the scene captured a person of interest entering the playground overnight when the school was closed" and images from the footage was "distributed to all officers." On Wednesday, officers from Park Station spotted a man who they say matched those images at Fulton Street and Masonic Avenue: 44-year-old Edward Vanwright, a previously-convicted sex offender with no known address.
After SFPD's Special Investigations Division questioned Vanwright, they say they don't believe that his alleged graffiti had "any connection to terrorism" nor do they believe that he was making any "threat to the school, students, or staff."
SFPD spokesperson Officer Grace Gatpandan says that "there was insufficient evidence to charge Vanwright with a hate crime," but that he was booked into San Francisco County Jail on misdemeanor charges of trespassing and vandalism, as well as for being a sex registrant present on school grounds.
Workers paint over what SFPD was symbol of group called 5 Percent Nation! pic.twitter.com/7NVOFoemIe— carolyn tyler (@ctylerabc7) November 17, 2015