Man gets 2 year hate crime sentence for defacing Chicago smoke shops with swastikas, prison gang tags

CHICAGO — A Chicago man has been sentenced to two years for a pair of hate crimes against two Northwest Side businesses last summer. Brodie Blakeslee, 58, pleaded guilty to both counts in exchange for the sentence from Judge Aleksandra Gillespie.

Blakeslee was accused of painting swastikas and the letters “AW” on the front and rear of Supreme Smoke, 4766 North Milwaukee, and Cannabist, 4758 North Milwaukee, in July.

Brodie Blakeslee in his CPD mugshot and his Facebook profile photo. | CPD; Facebook

Surveillance video clearly showed Blakeslee carrying spray paint and defacing one of the stores, prosecutors said. Supreme Smoke’s owner recognized Blakeslee in the footage based on the swastika and AW tattoos on his arm, leg, chest, and body, prosecutors said. During a bail hearing last July, prosecutors said Blakeslee used to work for the store, but the Chicago Tribune reported that the store’s owner recognized him as a former customer.

Blakeslee allegedly admitted to defacing Supreme Smoke but claimed he had no recollection of painting the other store during an interview with police. According to prosecutors, he told cops that “AW” stood for “Aryan Warriors,” his prison gang, and the swastikas represented White reunification.

He also told police that he knew both stores displayed signs supporting Black Lives Matter, and he “aimed to let Black Lives Matter supporters know the neighborhood was protected,” the prosecutor said.

Blakeslee served ten years in Nevada for a 1994 burglary, six years in California for a 2005 aggravated battery with a deadly weapon, and received probation in 2017 for aggravated assault in Chicago, according to prosecutors.

Court records show that he pleaded guilty to the charges in mid-December, barely five months after being charged. That’s an unusually quick resolution for a felony matter in Cook County, where similar cases typically take a year or more to reach a resolution.

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