‘Take your hatred somewhere else’: Fort Lauderdale mayor vows to find LGBTQ mural vandals

Crime was caught on surveillance camera, happened in broad daylight

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – A mural created in Fort Lauderdale to celebrate South Florida’s LGBTQ community has been vandalized just weeks after its unveiling.

The mayor believes it was intentional and vows the city will work to restore it.

LGBTQ activists say it’s a mark of hate.

It happened on Feb. 28 in broad daylight just before 5 p.m., police said.

The mural, a rainbow flag painted on Sebastian Street, was first displayed last month, as a sign of progress for the LGBTQ community.

Fort Lauderdale police say this has happened multiple times.

“What it took us to get here, there were a lot of hard fought battles to get us to where we have something displayed on a street like this,” said Miik Martorell with Pride Fort Lauderdale. “It says that people aren’t really tolerant of the people that live in the community with them. I mean we all are the same we are all human beings and we all want to be treated the same and there’s just no reason for that hate”

Fort Lauderdale police said tire marks covering the length of the 18-by-75-foot flag is no accident and in fact, a deliberate crime.

Officers say the marks were caused by burnouts from at least two men in a pick-up truck and multiple other people likely on motorcycles.

Security cameras captured the incident, with the driver of the truck backing up before a man exits the passenger side. That man is then seen pulling out a phone and appears to record as the person behind the wheel leaves their mark.

“If they were sending us a message, I have a message to send them back,” said Fort Lauderdale Mayor Dean Trantalis. “You’re not welcome. Take your hatred somewhere else.”

He added: “We will find the perpetrators. We will track them down.”

Police said they have video showing at least two of the people behind the crime in a newer model black Ford F250.

Anyone with information is urged to contact Broward Crime Stoppers at 954-493-TIPS.

About the Author:

Christian De La Rosa joined Local 10 News in April 2017 after spending time as a reporter and anchor in Atlanta, San Diego, Orlando and Panama City Beach.