DELRAY BEACH, Fla. – A 20-year-old man intentionally damaged a colorful crosswalk mural in Delray Beach, police said. It had been painted to commemorate Pride month in solidarity with the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer community.
Officials and activists unveiled it on June 12th at the intersection of Northeast First Street and Northeast Second Avenue. Activists want the vandal to pay the cost of repairing it.
Rand Hoch, the president of the Palm Beach Human Rights Council, said he was surprised to learn a hateful vandal had left dark skid marks on the $16,000 public art display.
“We made so much progress here in the last 30 years in LGBTQ issues, and to see someone do something like this just took me by surprise,” Hoch said.
Alexander Jerrich surrendered on Thursday. He was accused of damaging the floor mural while he was part of a caravan to celebrate former President Donald Trump’s 75th birthday on June 14.
Jerrich was driving a pick-up truck with a large flag to show his support of Trump, police said. He surrendered after a video of the crime went viral.
According to the arrest form, officers reported Jerrich “intentionally accelerated the vehicle in an unreasonable, unsafe manner.”
He is facing charges of criminal mischief, reckless driving, and evidence of prejudice with a felony enhancement.
Activists are now rallying together in hopes Jerrich can pay for repair damages.
On Saturday in Wilton Manors, and in countless communities across the country, there will be marches and parades for Pride Month, celebrating and remembering the Stonewall Riots more than 50 years ago.
That’s why activists say seeing this act of hate in Delray Beach, especially right now, hurts even more. “You know, it was really disgusting, and very, very disheartening,” says Cindy Brown, long-time LGBTQ+ activist reacting to the video.
Brown calls his decision an attack on a symbol that is important to so many people. “It would be the same thing as doing that to an American flag, for me,” added Brown.
Jerrich’s antics come on the heels of several other anti-LGBTQ+ events in the U.S. lately, including the trans athlete ban signed by Governor Ron DeSantis earlier this month.
Brown says all of that does a lot of damage to the work that has been done, to move towards equality for everyone.
“There’s so much homophobia, there’s so much antisemitism, there’s so much racism, and everything is just dividing us further.”