Shirtless, swastika-tattooed man convicted of hate crime

A San Francisco jury found a man guilty of a hate crime this week after he brandished a knife and shouted racial slurs at a summer day camp employee last year, prosecutors said Thursday.

Steven Beck, 37, was convicted Wednesday of felony brandishing a weapon with a hate crime allegation, and misdemeanor brandishing a weapon in connection with a July 14 incident, according to the district attorney’s office.

Beck approached the Potrero Hill Neighborhood House as children were arriving for a summer camp, and began shouting racial slurs and profanities at a camp employee greeting the campers.

The victim saw that Beck, who was shirtless and had swastika and iron cross tattoos, had a knife and hurried the children inside and directed staff to close and lock the doors. He stayed outside, however, to continue greeting arriving children.

Beck continued to shout and advanced toward the victim, at one point brandishing the knife with a slashing motion and pointing toward his swastika tattoo and saying “This is for you.”

Beck then left and walked on to a private property, where a homeowner told him to leave. He then brandished a knife at the homeowner before leaving, at which point police were able to take him into custody, prosecutors said.

The defendant then walked down the street and walked onto the property of a private residence where he was directed by the homeowner to vacate. In response to being told to vacate the defendant brandished the knife at the homeowner, taunted him, and then left the property. At this time, SFPD arrived and promptly took Beck into custody.

District Attorney George Gascón said of the verdict:

“Hate crimes strike at the heart of this city’s identity. … Far too many hate crimes go unreported, and that’s unfortunate in an era where it is imperative that we send a strong message that this community will not stand for intolerance.”