Tag Archives: Hate crimes

Benicia Mayor Steve Young on racism in Benicia: ‘We do, in fact, have a problem’

Steve Young on Facebook, April 18, 2021

On the hate crime last weekend and the arrest

Benicia Mayor Steve Young

I recently received an email from a member of the community asking me to push back against the idea that Benicia has a problem with racism. They argued that Benicia Black Lives Matter is overstating the degree of racism in our town. I responded by saying that there was, in fact, a problem here that needed to be acknowledged. They politely, but firmly, disagreed.

The incident on April 10 in the Raley’s parking lot, where three young Black teenagers were subjected to racial slurs by a white Benicia resident who later threatened them with an airsoft pistol, showed that an idealized version of Benicia is not the reality. It was the most recent and overt example of racism here, but it was not the only one. A white Benicia fisherman was captured on camera berating a group of Asian-Americans on the pier for fishing in “his” spot, and asking where “they” came from.

The young victims at the Raley’s center are understandably traumatized by this act of racist hate and intimidation. The alleged perpetrator was quickly arrested by Benicia police on several counts, including perpetrating a hate crime. He is currently out on bail, and charging decisions will be made by the District Attorney.

There are clearly too many people in Benicia, be they citizens or visitors, who still suffer from racial bias (both conscious and unconscious), and too many people of color who suffer direct and indirect discrimination. Whether the bias comes from blatant hatred, ignorance or lack of education/information, it is real and it needs to be acknowledged before it can be meaningfully addressed.

The City has taken the first steps by hiring a part-time Racial and Equity Manager to help us review our own practices. Benicia is approximately 30% minority, but the makeup of our various Boards and Commissions, as well as our overall city employment, does not reflect that level of representation.

Clearly, there is work that needs to be done to make our community more inclusive and welcoming to all of our residents. But that work must start with acknowledging that we do, in fact, have a problem.
We can do better as a community by opening our mind and listening to each other. Hate and racism have no place in Benicia, and we must do our best to make this a more welcoming and inclusive city.

Benician arrested for hate crime against 3 black kids outside Raley’s

Male suspect in Benicia arrested for alleged hate crime, DUI

Vallejo Times Herald, By KATY ST. CLAIR, April 15, 2021
Source: facebook.com/StandUpBenicia/

A 20-year-old man was arrested in Benicia on Saturday for an alleged felony “hate crime.”

Patric Knoblich is accused of making racial slurs against a group of minors at the Southampton Shopping Center as he drove past them, police said. He was also booked for allegedly brandishing a replica of a gun and driving under the influence.

According to a post on the Facebook group Stand-Up Benicia, the victims — ages 13, 14 and 15 — were walking their bikes next to the shopping complex when a man yelled from his car, “Hey you nasty (N-words)!” Two passengers reportedly looked on and laughed.

The children say they have a recording of the incident. The Times-Herald listened to the audio and a male can be heard yelling the slur, and also saying “You (expletive) nasty!”

According to the Benicia Police Department, “a short time later, the teens asked the driver why he made the comments and at this point, the driver brandished a realistic-looking airsoft gun” and drove away.

The juveniles claim that when the car came back, the driver also yelled, “You don’t know who you’re (expletive) with, (expletive)!”

The boys told a source familiar to the Times-Herald that they were fearful and went into Raley’s Supermarket to report what had happened. According to the boys, the manager of Raley’s told them to “go home,” though a spokesperson for Raley’s said that is inaccurate and that the store manager called 911.

The Benicia Police confirm that Raley’s did indeed call 911, but after the victim’s mother had already done so.

According to a post on Stand Up Benicia, the boys were frightened and went to the back of the store, where the mother of one of their schoolmates recognized them and took them home. The mother of one of the boys then called 911 and the police arrived at their home.

According to BPD, officers located the alleged driver of the vehicle, Knoblich, whom they say is out on bail for a previous, unrelated crime. Police say the incident is still under investigation.

Knoblich was booked into Solano County Jail on April 11 for misdemeanor brandishing of a firearm replica, driving under the influence and driving under the influence as a minor, and a felony “violation of civil rights.”

Knoblich has been released from jail. The Times-Herald has reached out to the district attorney about the case, but had not heard back by press time.