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Police release video of person of interest in racist threats against dog walker

A person is seen in a still image of surveillance footage carrying a brown paper bag.
San Francisco police want to speak to this person about racist and threatening messages that targeted a dog walker. | Source: San Francisco Police Department

The San Francisco Police Department released images and video footage Friday of a person of interest allegedly connected to racist incidents against a dog walker in the city’s Western Addition neighborhood.

The case concerns Terry Williams, the dog walker who received packages that each contained a blackface doll with a noose around its neck on April 26 and May 5 at his Grove Street home.

The video, taken May 5 at 2:21 a.m., shows a person in a black shoes, black pants, and a long black coat with a hood walking down the sidewalk holding what appears to be a brown paper bag. The bag appears to be open, containing some kind of purple objects.

Surveillance Video for 240_262_276 from San Francisco Police on Vimeo.

Williams told The Standard he did not recognize the person in the video.

“I don’t recognize the person off-hand,” Williams said in a text. “I’ve been looking at it over and over to clear my mind and think about it where do I recognize this person from and if so where cuz right now I can’t really tell.”

Police did not specify where the footage was recorded or why they connected this person to the investigation.

“The San Francisco Police Department does not tolerate racism of any kind. No one should be targeted because of their race, religion, gender, sexual orientation or any other shared characteristic,” the department said in a statement released on Friday with the footage.

Williams, who runs a dog walking business in the area, previously told The Standard that the incidents have made him feel uneasy.

“I don’t know who to trust right now, man,” Williams told The Standard last month. “This is hard. I’m walking in the park; I don’t want to be around anybody now. It’s bad. I don’t know who. I don’t know where it’s coming from.”

Weeks later, Williams’ home was burned down in a fire, although its cause remains unknown. The fire also destroyed the home of his parents, who live in an adjoining unit in the same building.

The SFPD is now seeking the public’s assistance in identifying the person seen in the released footage, and are investigating the case as a potential hate crime. Anyone with information is urged to contact the SFPD at 415-575-4444 or send a text message beginning with “SFPD” to TIP411.

Garrett Leahy can be reached at