Los Angeles, Apr 21: A 21-year-old man, who vandalised a gurdwara with hateful anti-ISIS graffiti following the San Bernardino shootings, has been sentenced to 80 hours of community service at the place of worship he targeted and 240 hours of graffiti cleanup.
Brodie Durazo pleaded guilty to misdemeanour vandalism and vandalism of religious property charges in exchange for serving 80 hours at the Gurdwara Singh Sabha at Buena Park, a suburb of Los Angeles, as well as 240 hours of graffiti removal elsewhere.
Deputy District Attorney Jess Rodriguez told the judge that temple leaders had agreed to allow Durazo to work there for his community service.
"They believe it can be a productive result, having him learn about them and their beliefs. They wanted to see something positive come from this," Rodriguez said at the hearing on Tuesday.
Japnaam Singh, a longtime member of the Gurdwara, said the sentence seemed just in light of Durazo's apology to the congregation. "In our religion, forgiveness is a virtue, and something we abide by every day," Singh was quoted as saying by The Orange County Register.
Durazo sprayed graffiti, including references to the Islamic State terror group, on a parking lot wall and a parked truck at the Gurdwara. The graffiti was discovered December 6.
The incident came just days after Syed Rizwan Farook and Tashfeen Malik, a married Pakistani couple living in the city of Redlands, targeted a San Bernardino County Department of Public Health training event and a holiday party, killing 14 people.
Shortly after his arrest, Durazo read an apology letter to the congregation, denying that he meant the vandalism as hate speech. "I know your guys' faith and church have nothing to do with the Muslim religion or Islam, that is why I did not write the profanity on your walls or temple," Durazo said to the congregation in remarks videotaped and posted on Facebook by the Sikh Coalition.
"The only reason I wrote what I wrote on the truck was because I was intoxicated and I figured the truck travels through the state and through the country," he said. "I have shed so many tears to my daughter and fiance. I cannot imagine the amount of stress or tension I have brought upon your temple, especially with what is going on in this world at this time," Durazo said.
He was initially facing felony charges in connection with the vandalism. However, a judge downgraded the charges to misdemeanours, over the objections of prosecutors.
Durazo will be on probation for three years and is required to pay an unspecified amount of restitution back to the temple.