Police in New York City are investigating after a masked person dumped red paint on a Black Lives Matter street mural painted in front of Trump Tower.
Twitter user Oscar Vela posted a video of a person who walked up to the “V” in “Black Lives Matter,” took a can of paint out of a paper bag and threw the paint on the mural, located on Fifth Avenue. The person then left the paint can and ran off.
— Oscar Vela (@OscarVelaNYC) July 13, 2020
An NYPD official told USA TODAY a criminal mischief complaint has been filed regarding the incident and detectives are investigating.
President Donald Trump spoke out against the mural when it was proposed by New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio. Trump called the then-proposed mural a “symbol of hate.”
De Blasio responded to the vandalism on Twitter.
“Nice try,” the mayor tweeted, along with a picture of a Department of Transportation crew repainting the mural.
To whoever vandalized our mural on 5th Avenue: nice try. @NYC_DOT has already fixed it.
— Mayor Bill de Blasio (@NYCMayor) July 13, 2020
De Blasio added the Black Lives Matter movement is “more than words, and it can’t be undone.”
In the video, Vela can be heard asking the person’s name as they’re running off.
“I was a little speechless at first cause I couldn’t believe that was happening in front of me,” Vela told CNN. “I yelled for his name and he ran away. Sad to see this happen in NYC.”
The incident is the latest in Black Lives Matter street murals being vandalized. Murals have been painted nationwide during the weeks of protests against racial discrimination and police brutality following the death of George Floyd, a Black man whose death while in police custody has sparked outrage.
Last week, hate crime charges were filed against a California man and woman who tried to paint over a street mural painted in front of a downtown courthouse. The mural was permitted by the city of Martinez and painted on the Fourth of July.
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