A restorationist works on cleaning up “Home Is Little Tokyo” mural in June 2018. (MARIO GERSHOM REYES/Rafu Shimpo)

After previously backing out of a plea arrangement, Erick Gomez was convicted and found guilty on Nov. 19 in connection with the June 10, 2018 vandalism of the “Home Is Little Tokyo” mural as well as another building in the downtown area in violation of a penal code that restricts possession of graffiti tools.

The mural has stood as a landmark on Central Avenue in Little Tokyo since 2005, when a project team led by Nancy Kikuchi, Tony Osumi, and Takao Suzuki was joined by artists Sergio Diaz and Jorge Diaz and 500 community members in painting the 16×40 ft. public art piece. Due to the vandalism, the mural had to be refurbished at a cost of $6,238. It was rededicated during a ceremony last May.

Los Angeles Police Department Senior Lead Officer Adrian Lopez conducted the investigation, and Deputy City Attorney Jim McDougal prosecuted the case.

L.A. County Superior Court Judge Kimberly Guillemet placed Gomez on 12 months formal diversion, adding the condition that he not to write or type his tag name “Ryan69” in any medium and that he “provide all passwords to any electronic devices (including cellular phones, computers and notepads) within his custody or control.”

Additionally, Judge Guillemet ordered him to perform 30 days of graffiti removal and stipulate to restitution to the Little Tokyo Service Center in the amount of $6,238.99, subject to an “ability to pay” hearing.

Gomez is also required to pay restitution, to be determined at a future hearing, to the owner of a property vandalized in a separate incident.

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