A Florida man has been slapped with felony charges for leaving tire tracks across an intersection painted in the rainbow colors of the LGBT pride movement. LGBT activists cheered the police for throwing the book at the suspect.
Alexander Jerich, 20, turned himself in to police in Delray Beach, Florida, on Thursday. Jerich was seen on Monday allegedly pulling onto the intersection in a pickup truck and spinning his rear tires for around 15 seconds, leaving black streaks across the rainbow stripes and sending clouds of smoke into the air.
WATCH: A man was arrested after he was caught on camera doing what appeared to be an intentional “burnout” with his vehicle over the LGBTQ pride crosswalk in Delray Beach, causing significant damage to the streetscape painting. Read more: https://t.co/yuBY86LOXR pic.twitter.com/PrmKmOJjKS
— WPEC CBS12 News (@CBS12) June 18, 2021
Jerich was taken to Palm Beach County Jail. Local media reported that he was charged with criminal mischief over $1,000, reckless driving, and evidence of prejudice, the latter of which elevated the charges against him from misdemeanor to felony.
Local LGBT activists piled on Jerich. The Palm Beach County Human Rights Council told local media that they “requested the charges include defacing a memorial – a recently enacted law which would require this crime to be treated as a felony. If convicted of this offense, the perpetrator would be responsible for reimbursing the City of Delray Beach for the cost of repairing the damages in addition to the severe penalties for committing a felony.”
Ironically, Jerich may be charged under Florida’s ‘Combating Public Disorder Law,’ which makes it a third-degree felony if someone “willfully and maliciously defaces, injures, or otherwise damages by any means a memorial or historic property.” The law was signed by Governor Ron DeSantis in April, and cheered by conservatives who opposed leftist rioters’ destruction of statues and memorials during nationwide ‘Black Lives Matter’ protests.
Palm Beach rights group founder Rand Hoch told WPTV that while the law may have been passed to protect Confederate war memorials, the LGBT intersection meets the law’s requirements for protection.
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In some parts of North America, LGBT crosswalks and intersections are treated almost as sacred symbols. When a motorist pulled off a little too quickly over a rainbow-painted crosswalk in Vancouver, Canada, last summer, police treated the incident as a “hate gesture” and launched a manhunt for the driver. It’s unclear whether the driver left tire tracks behind him intentionally, but either way, critics ridiculed the police and those responsible for placing murals on the street. “Hear me out on this… maybe don’t put symbols of Pride where it’ll be run over hundreds of times per day,” one commenter quipped at the time.
Jerich’s burnout certainly appeared to be deliberate, but he wouldn’t be the first disgruntled citizen to take his anger out on a piece of woke street art. When New York Mayor Bill DeBlasio had giant ‘Black Lives Matter’ lettering painted onto Fifth Avenue last year, police officers had to be assigned to protect the mural around the clock, after vandals repeatedly spilled paint over it. As officers complained about being ordered to “babysit paint,” shootings and homicides in the city soared to alarming heights.
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