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Watch: Pickup Truck Vandal Defaces Pride Flag Crosswalk

by Kilian Melloy

EDGE Staff Reporter

Wednesday March 8, 2023

Security camera footage captured the criminal vandalism of a Pride-themed crosswalk in Fort Lauderdale.
Security camera footage captured the criminal vandalism of a Pride-themed crosswalk in Fort Lauderdale.  (Source:Screenshot/WSVN)

Another Florida town, another Pride crosswalk — and another pickup truck-driving vandal now wanted by the police for an act of homophobic property damage.

The Fort Lauderdale crosswalk had been newly painted with the colors of the Progress Pride flag when an as-yet unidentified perpetrator methodically burned tire marks across it while a second suspect filmed the act on a cell phone, local news station WSVN detailed. The vehicle used in commission of the crime was a black Ford F-250, the news report noted.

The criminal act, brazenly carried out in broad daylight, was caught on a security camera. Fort Lauderdale police are now on the hunt for the vandal and his accomplice.

Moreover, Mayor Dean Trantalis spoke out to condemn the crime in no uncertain terms.

"Your message of hate is not wanted in the city of Fort Lauderdale," Trantalis said.

"Honestly, it was a stupid act on their part," the mayor added. "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."

The city's Chief of Police echoed the Mayor, declaring, "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."

The repair bill is estimated to cost the city $1,000.

A virtually identical act of vandalism to public property took place in another Florida community, Delray Beach, in June of 2021 when a young man attending a birthday rally for Donald Trump used his pickup to burn tire tracks across a Pride-themed crosswalk not long after the $16,000 paint job was completed. A 20-year-old man, Alexander Jerish, turned himself in to police and was charged with criminal mischief and reckless driving. The charges carried an enhancement due to the "evidence of prejudice" in the crime.

Trantalis took note of the speed with which the vandal struck the Fort Lauderdale crosswalk in the latter act of hate. "Not too many days passed before someone couldn't deal with it and they felt they had to go and deface the flag," the mayor lamented.

To watch the WSVN news clip, follow this link.

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Associate Arts Editor and Staff Contributor. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.