A Florida man has been arrested for deliberately performing a burnout over an LGBTQ pride flag crosswalk in Delray Beach, damaging the “artwork.”
In a video that went viral on social media, a white truck with a blue flag hanging off of the rear right hand side, can be seen drifting across the LGBTQ crosswalk on NE 1st Street and NE 2nd Avenue in Delray Beach, Florida, towards the left-hand side of the intersection, with the tyres leaving track marks across a significant proportion of what was described as “artwork.” In a statement, police described the incident as being “an intentional burnout” across the crosswalk.
Alexander Jerich, 20, turned himself in on Thursday and identified himself as the driver of the truck, and has been charged with criminal mischief of over $1,000, reckless driving, with a felony enhancement of “evidence of prejudice,” with him being accused of specifically targeting the LGBTQ crosswalk for supposed hateful reasons. Jerich had allegedly been taking part in a rally for President Trump’s birthday when the burnout occurred.
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
UPDATE: DBPD: -Alexander Jerich, 20 turned himself in.
-Charged with criminal mischief over $1K, reckless driving
-Charged with evidence of prejudice
-Police say he did not want to give a statement
-Booked in the Palm Beach County Jail. https://t.co/3VvOmSSHBO
— JOSH NAVARRO (@JoshNavarroTV) June 17, 2021
The LGBTQ crosswalk and intersection were unveiled last Saturday, after being “years in the making,” and dedicated to the victims of the Pulse Nightclub shooting which occurred in Orlando in 2016. Nicholas Coppola, one of the leaders behind the “artwork,” said that the deliberate burnout was clearly tantamount to a “hate crime,” and that he was “saddened but not surprised” about the video. “There’s a part of me that expected it,” Coppola said. “People think this is a skid mark, but we’d had so many of trans-children killed in these past few years in a short period of time, so this is a much deeper problem.”
Palm Beach County Human Rights Council President and Founder Ran Hoch said that Jerich was a “hateful criminal,” and specifically demanded that he further be charged with defacing a memorial, which would further require the actions to be treated as a felony if the “evidence of prejudice” test could not be met.
Reaction on social media did not include much condemnation to Jerich, but instead included a number of people pointing out that those who would have been upset at his actions would either support or at the very least would not care about historical statues and monuments being vandalised or torn down by antifa and Black Lives Matter activists.