TORRANCE, CA, August 31, 2012, (LifeSiteNews.com) – Manuel Castro may have accused Chick-fil-A of peddling hate, but police say they have determined that he wasn’t motivated by hate when he vandalized a Chick-fil-A restaurant earlier this month.
Castro, a gay activist, had scrawled the words “Tastes Like Hate,” along with a cow holding a paintbrush, on the side of a Chick-fil-A restaurant in Torrance, California, on “National Same-Sex Kiss Day” – an event organized to protest company CEO Dan Cathy’s stance in support of traditional marriage.
“National Same-Sex Kiss Day” followed on the heels of Chick-fil-A “Appreciation Day,” on which hundreds of thousands of traditional marriage supporters had lined up, sometimes for several hours, to dine at Chick-fil-A as a show of their support for Cathy.
Photos of Castro’s graffiti traveled far and wide in the media, becoming one of the most recognizable images from the kerfuffle.
But police announced this week that Castro would not be charged with a felony in connection with the vandalism.
“The suspect has acknowledged his wrongdoing and offered to make restitution,” the District Attorney’s office said in a notice rejecting prosecution. “Finally, the record does not establish the suspect was motivated by religious hatred.”
However, the D.A. said the case has been referred to the Torrance City Attorney’s Office “for consideration of possible misdemeanor prosecution.”
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In an interview with the Huffington Post after the graffiti was discovered, Castro had compared marriage supporters lining up to eat lunch at Chick-fil-A to Christians protesting blacks marrying whites.
“Everybody is entitled to free speech, but it seems like for the gay tribe, this is more of an issue of equal rights, human rights,” said Castro. “I’m against what these people stand for, what this company stands for. They’re trying to take away what little rights we already have.”
In a subsequent statement Castro offered to pay for the damages – which reportedly totaled several hundred dollars to repaint the wall.