Manhunt Underway for Driver Who Performed Donuts and Defaced Pride Mural in Florida — Will Face Felony Charges (VIDEO)

A manhunt was launched following an incident where a driver left tire marks on a pride mural (Screenshot: St. Petersburg Police Department)

A manhunt is underway for a driver accused of deliberately defacing a Pride mural, marking the second act of vandalism against the same artwork within a week.

The St. Petersburg Police Department reports that the latest incident involved a blue two-door vehicle performing donuts over the mural at the 2500 Central Avenue roundabout. This act of vandalism, occurring early on May 22nd, follows a similar incident on May 17th involving a truck.

St. Petersburg Police Department released the following statement:

Over the last week, two different vehicles have left tire marks damaging the Progressive Pride street mural at the 2500 Central Avenue roundabout.

The first occurred on May 17th at 9:36 a.m. when a truck accelerated through the mural. The second incident happened on May 22nd at 2:41 a.m. involving a blue two-door vehicle doing doughnuts on the mural.

Investigators have no reason to believe the incidents are related.

It’s going to cost the City of St. Petersburg $1100 to restore. The City aims to have the mural repainted in time for Pride month festivities.”

If found, the individual responsible will face a felony charge of criminal mischief.

WATCH:

Democrat Mayor Ken Welch took to social media to condemn the vandalism.

“In light of the recent vandalism targeting our Progressive Pride flag mural, I want to emphasize that there is no place for hate in St. Petersburg. We stand united in valuing and appreciating every resident, regardless of their orientation, gender identity, or expression. Our differences make St. Pete the vibrant and diverse community we cherish,” the mayor said.

“The flag mural will be cleaned and refreshed in time for Pride Month. As we look forward to the Pride celebrations, let’s continue to spread the message of love and acceptance even further. Join us as we kick off the festivities with our Pride flag raising ceremony at City Hall on Friday, May 31. Together, we can show that love always wins,” he added.

 

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A post shared by Mayor Ken Welch (@mayorkenwelch)

A notable backlash has emerged on social media, where users are drawing parallels between this incident and other forms of political expression like flag burning or statue defacement, which receive less legal scrutiny or even praise.

One user pointed out, “Burn an American flag or tear down statues: you might be hailed as a hero. Leave tire marks on a pride mural: face a manhunt and felony charges.”

Another added, “If burning the U.S. flag is considered free speech, shouldn’t the same apply to a burnout on a Pride mural? This is about freedom of expression.”

Criticism also touches on the use of taxpayer money for what some see as divisive symbols on public property.

“Why spend taxpayer dollars on a Pride mural when we could be enhancing community safety or showing equal recognition for patriotic symbols?” another comment read.

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Jim Hᴏft is the founder and editor of The Gateway Pundit, one of the top conservative news outlets in America. Jim was awarded the Reed Irvine Accuracy in Media Award in 2013 and is the proud recipient of the Breitbart Award for Excellence in Online Journalism from the Americans for Prosperity Foundation in May 2016.

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