FORT LAUDERDALE, FLA. (WSVN) - A surveillance video from Feb. 28 showed a black Ford F-250 burning tire marks on top of an LGBTQ+ pride flag that is painted on the road. On Wednesday morning, a cleanup crew fixed the began repairs on the mural.
Residents in the area believe the driver was possibly driven by hate as they targeted the symbolic artwork in Fort Lauderdale.
“Your message of hate is not wanted in the city of Fort Lauderdale,” said Fort Lauderdale Mayor Dean Trantalis. “Honestly, it was a stupid act on their part. Whether they were pranksters or people who were just after to show that intolerance is what they live by. It’s not desired in our city. We are not going to accept it.”
Officials unveiled the flag located between State Road A1A and Seabreeze Boulevard in mid-February.
“They put a lot into putting this flag here. They redid the road. There’s a lot of time and money put into the effort to make this nice, to support our Gay community and then they just completely defaced it,” said Mary Jo Whitehurst, general manager of the Merriweather resort.
Security footage also showed a passenger getting out of the truck to record the driver causing the damage. Police are now looking for both suspects.
“Not too many days passed before someone couldn’t deal with it and they felt they had to go and deface the flag,” said Trantalis.
Fort Lauderdale Police Chief Lynn provided a statement that read in part: “The Fort Lauderdale Police Department is deeply disturbed this incident took place. We stand in support of our LGBTQ community and will continue to gather details surrounding this vandalism.”
A similar incident happened in Delray Beach in 2021 when a man defaced a pride flag street mural.
“I hope that they get educated to be honest with you above everything I hope that they’re called out and that somehow they can find that people are people,” said Whitehurst. “And everybody should be able to do what they want to do as long as they are not hurting anybody else.”
Authorities said the cost of the repairs is estimated at about $1,000.
Anyone with information is encouraged to contact Detective Jones at 954-828-5771 or call Broward County Crime Stoppers at 954-493-TIPS. Remember, you can always remain anonymous, and you may be eligible for a reward of up to $5,000.
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