The Los Angeles County District Attorney's office has declined to file a felony case against Hollywood artist Manuel "Manny" Castro, who claimed responsibility for painting the words "tastes like hate" and a picture of a cow on a Torrance Chick-fil-A in early August.
, 30, on Aug. 8 on suspicion of vandalism. He posted $20,000 bail and was released about three hours later.
City News Service reported that county prosecutors referred the matter to the Torrance City Attorney's Office for consideration of possible misdemeanor charges.
"... It is the conclusion of the District Attorney's Office that this is not a matter for which felony prosecution is appropriate," wrote John Zajec, the head prosecutor in the Torrance office. "The matter is therefore referred to the Torrance City Attorney's Office for consideration of possible misdemeanor prosecution."
Della Thompson-Bell of the Torrance City Attorney's Office said her office had not yet received the case, so a decision had not yet been made on whether to pursue any charges.
Police first at the Chick-fil-A on the Redondo Beach border after media outlets tipped them off Aug. 3. Officers found a can of black spray paint left near the wall.
It cost the restaurant's owner "approximately several hundred dollars" to have the affected portion of the wall painted over, according to the document.
"The amount of the damages appears to be relatively minor involving repainting a section of stucco wall approximately 15 feet long by 12 feet high," Zajec wrote. "The suspect has acknowledged his wrongdoing and offered to make restitution."
Several hours after news of the vandalism broke, Castro told the Huffington Post in an exclusive interview that he spray-painted his message on the side of the eatery at 18200 Hawthorne Blvd. because of remarks Chick-fil-A CEO Dan Cathy made in July supporting "traditional marriage."
"I'm against what these people stand for, what this company stands for," Castro, who is gay, told the Huffington Post. "They're trying to take away what little rights we already have."
Perhaps in respone to people calling the vandalism a "hate crime," Zajec noted that "the record does not establish the suspect was motivated by religious hatred."
In a second interview with the Huffington Post, Castro said his intent was not to commit a crime.
"It's paint on a wall," he said. "It got removed in less than an hour. It's not that much of a crime—it's a protest."
The charge evaluation worksheet noted that police believe another person participated in the vandalism; however, that person was not identified.
The Chick-fil-A CEO’s comments in July sparked protests from gay-rights groups, as well as support from loyal restaurant customers and people against same-sex marriage, who organized a national “Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day,” the Los Angeles Times reported.
—City News Service contributed to this report.