Hate crime charge dropped in Menlo Park vandalism case


Prosecutors have dropped two initial counts against a San Diego man after a court hearing for an April 24 incident in Menlo Park in which he is accused of vandalizing cars and making threats, according to San Mateo County Deputy District Attorney Al Serrato.

Cole Hoffman, 34, was allegedly vandalizing vehicles when an observer came outside and saw him kick his car, causing about $3,000 damage, according to Menlo Park police.

The observer, who is African-American, then confronted Hoffman, who allegedly threatened to "slice and stab" him, hurled numerous racial epithets at him and yelled out "white power."

The observer left the scene and called police. When they arrived, officers found that Hoffman had damaged 10 vehicles by breaking windows and windshield wipers and denting the cars, police said.

Police officers chased Hoffman and then struggled to control him before placing him in a body control device.

Hoffman remains in custody on $200,000 bail and faces charges of vandalism, criminal threats and misdemeanor resisting arrest.

Hoffman also allegedly told an officer that he planned to slit the throats of everyone with the same name as the officer, and that he was going to make sure the "good ol' boys" come to Menlo Park and shoot the officers.

A preliminary charge of a hate crime was dropped because of lack of evidence that the incident was substantially motivated by racial animus, Serrato said.

A charge of attempting to dissuade an officer in the performance of his duty was also dropped.

Hoffman pleaded not guilty to the remaining charges on April 24.

His next court date will be May 22 at 8:30 a.m. at the Hall of Justice in Redwood City.

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Like this comment
Posted by resident
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on May 9, 2019 at 10:40 pm

Why is this terrorist in Menlo Park to begin with?

Like this comment
Posted by rich society
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on May 10, 2019 at 1:18 pm

Mental health services.

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