The headquarters of a Sacramento law firm known for representing police officers in use-of-force cases was spray-painted with anti-police graffiti after it lowered a “Blue Lives Matter” flag to half-staff in honor of a New York City police officer killed in the line of duty, the firm said Wednesday.
David Mastagni, the founder and managing partner at Mastagni Holstedt, said he arrived at work shortly before 9 a.m. to find a two-word epithet cursing police spray-painted in red across the building’s front window.
The firm, which represents a number of large police unions in California and also provides legal services to individual officers involved in use-of-force cases, had lowered a Blue Lives Matter flag outside its offices to half-staff in recent days after the shooting death of NYPD Officer Miosotis Familia.
Familia was sitting in a mobile command post in the Bronx when she was ambushed by 34-year-old Alexander Bonds on July 5. She was rushed to a hospital but died of her injuries. Bonds was killed in a shootout with police moments after the attack.
Sgt. Bryce Heinlein, a Sacramento police spokesman, said the department was investigating a vandalism incident at the law firm involving “disparaging remarks against law enforcement,” but said it was too early to connect the incident to Familia’s death.
No persons of interest have been identified, and no other damage was done to the building, according to Heinlein, who estimated the damage to the law firm to be in the thousands of dollars.
Mastagni insisted the graffiti was linked to Familia’s death, noting that the N.W.A song “F— tha Police” had been played by a protester near the officer’s funeral on Tuesday. A Bronx teenager told the New York Post that he played the song as thousands of officers mourned Familia in protest of the police-involved killings of two of his relatives.
“I’m absolutely positive it’s why we were targeted,” Mastagni said. “The whole community identifies us as law enforcement.”
The firm’s clients include the unions that represent the Los Angeles Airport Police Department, the Sacramento Police Department and the Sacramento and Alameda county sheriff’s departments, according to Mastagni.
Mastagni said people have visited the firm before to ask him about the flag, but he could not remember another vandalism incident.
“I’ve had a number of citizens come by and engage in civil dialogue about why I have a Blue Lives Matter flag, and I just say to them, because law enforcement represents the thin, blue line between anarchy and the rule of law, and that cops protect everybody’s rights,” he said. “For the most part, everybody is accepting of that.”
Follow @JamesQueallyLAT for crime and police news in California.