Two people allegedly deface BLM street mural, both arrested
Two people were arrested this weekend after allegedly defacing a BLM mural in California with skid marks from their car tires.
Police arrested a 19-year-old Hagan Warner and 20-year-old Brandon Bochat in Santa Cruz County on charges of felony vandalism and conspiracy to commit a felony when they allegedly did “burnouts” with their vehicles along a Black Lives Matter street mural, leaving tire tread markings all over the artwork.
Police received a call on July 24 about the crime, which had been committed the prior night, according to a statement from the Santa Cruz Police Department. Video footage of the incident allowed them to view the progression of the crime and also led to suspect identification.
The mural is located outside the Santa Cruz City Hall. The public was made aware of the crime when it was denounced via the Santa Cruz Police Department’s Twitter account.
“VANDALISM INVESTIGATION #SantaCruzPolice Media Release…There is NO place for racism and acts of hate in the @CityofSantaCruz.”
The police will charge the two suspects appropriately if authorities determine that the crime meets the requirements to be classified as a hate crime.
Mayor Donna Meyers and Police Chief Andy Mills visited the site of the damage the morning of July 24, declaring, “There is no place for racism or acts of hate in the City of Santa Cruz.”
“Vandalism of our Black Lives Matter mural is unacceptable and must be dealt with immediately. The Santa Cruz Police are actively investigating this crime and keeping me up to date. We will work to repair the mural and stand in solidarity with our community to oppose hate,” Meyers said.
Chief Mills declared, “This type of behavior is unacceptable in our community, and we will pour all of the resources necessary to ensure we identify and prosecute those responsible. Justice must be served as this crime affects deteriorates [sic] the civility of our community, and creates a higher level of anxiety for many citizens, including our black community.”
Brenda Griffin, the NAACP’s local branch president, also spoke out, saying, “This crime saddens me greatly. The NAACP is glad the police have placed a high priority on this investigation. It’s extraordinarily frustrating as some people still don’t get Black Lives Matter too. This mural is a symbol of hope. We want our youth to know we have their backs.”
A similar crime was committed earlier this month in Elizabeth City, North Carolina when a truck was seen doing burnouts and leaving skid marks over top the words “Black Lives Matter” which were painted on a street mural.