Delray Beach police confirmed Thursday a 20-year-old man was placed under arrest in connection with the vandalism of a brand new LGBTQ Pride intersection and crosswalk.
South Florida resident Alexander Jerich faces charges of criminal mischief over $1,000, reckless driving, and a hate crime felony enhancement for the damage he allegedly did to the city’s Pride crosswalk.
The rainbow street art installation, located at Northeast First Street and Northeast Second Avenue, was officially unveiled to the public last Saturday, June 12, and cost $16,000 to install.
But two days later – on Trump’s birthday – Jerich allegedly vandalized them by doing burnouts with his pickup truck, defacing it with black skid marks running across the colorful pattern.
A video taken during the attack shows a truck adorned with an “All aboard the Trump Train” flag, defacing the crosswalk during a “birthday rally” for Donald Trump.
How it started for 20yo Palm Beach County Trump supporter Alexander Jerich…
— SFDB (@sfdb) June 17, 2021
“On Monday, Jerich was seen by witnesses, doing what appeared to be an intentional ‘burnout’ with his vehicle over the LGBTQ pride crosswalk at the intersection of NE 1st Street and NE 2nd Avenue,” the Delray Beach Police Department said in a statement. “This caused the vehicle to create significant damage to the streetscape painting. Another witness provided smartphone video of the crime.”
Jerich turned himself in and gave a statement to police that said that he planned his route during the rally to pass over the rainbow crosswalk.
“I was glad to hear Delray Beach Police was taking this seriously and that an arrest was made this quickly,” Claudia Harrison of the local LGBTQ organization Compass told the Sun-Sentinel.
And, as a bonus…
“Jerich may face penalties under Florida’s newly passed “Combating Public Disorder Law…”
….which was passed by the Trumpist @FLGOPMajority in response to BLM protests.
— SFDB (@sfdb) June 17, 2021
The Pride intersection is dedicated to Delray Beach resident Nicholas Coppola. Coppola said the skid marks on this crosswalk is a sign of hate.
“This is something that I consider is for all of us,” Coppola said. “As personal as I took it, I take it on behalf of the community for the damage that it has done. This was an assault on an entire community.”
“This is just a surface. But these wounds run deep,” Coppola said. “I mean, we’ve had how many trans siblings murdered — viciously murdered — in such a short period of time, most recently. Again, this shows just how much more work we have to do. This is definitely not representative of Delray Beach.”
According to City Commissioner Ryan Boylston, the city plans to repaint the damaged areas.
“What the vandalists don’t realize is how powerful and resilient the LGBTQ community is,” Julie Seaver, the executive director of Compass, an LGBTQ community center in Lake Worth Beach, said. “We have to deal with this type of hate every single day. But we do know how to rally and organize, and we know how to stand together side-by-side even in the face of hate.”