Police searching for drivers who twice defaced LGBT progressive pride mural

Tire marks are left behind after a driver performed 'doughnuts' on an LGBT Pride Mural in St. Petersburg, Florida.
Tire marks are left behind after a driver performed "doughnuts" on an LGBT Pride Mural in St. Petersburg, Florida. | Screenshot: YouTube/ABC Action News

Police in St. Petersburg, Florida, are looking for drivers who vandalized an LGBT-themed street mural ahead of the city's pride month celebrations.  

In a statement posted on Facebook Friday, the St. Petersburg Police Department announced that “Over the last week, two different vehicles have left tire marks damaging the Progressive Pride street mural at the 2500 Central Avenue roundabout.” According to the local law enforcement agency, “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.”

Video footage accompanying the post, which urged residents and visitors of St. Petersburg to “Respect Our Art,” documented the driver of the second vehicle driving around in circles on the mural at the intersection. The police department did not release footage of the May 17 incident.

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“Investigators have no reason to believe the incidents are related,” St. Petersburg Police stressed. “It’s going to cost the city of St. Petersburg $1,100 to restore. The city aims to have the mural repainted in time for pride month festivities.”

As the Police Department indicated, the vandalism of the LGBT street art comes ahead of its annual recognition of LGBT pride month, what others refer to as the month of June, which is set to kick off on Saturday. Local law enforcement urged the public to contact them if they had any information about the owners of the vehicles in question. 

The St. Petersburg Police Department is not the only agency within the city government that has expressed support for LGBT ideology amid the vandalism of the street mural. St. Petersburg’s Democrat Mayor Ken Welch took to Instagram late last week to condemn what took place in his city. 

“In light of the recent vandalism targeting our Progressive Pride flag mural, I want to emphasize that there is no need for hate in St. Petersburg,” he said. “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.” 

Vowing that “the flag mural will be cleaned and refreshed in time for pride month,” he invited the public to “join us as we kick off the festivities with our pride flag raising ceremony at City Hall on Friday, May 31.” A local news clip about the incidents shared by the X account End Wokeness, taken from an ABC Action News report, revealed that police plan to charge the perpetrators with a felony count of criminal mischief.

Robby Starbuck, a conservative commentator and host of the "Robby Starbuck Show," suggested that Florida’s Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis “should pardon him if they find him.”

The vandalism of the LGBT street mural in St. Petersburg is the second time this year that such a symbol painted on the road in a Florida city has received national attention after a driver appeared to target it. In February, 19-year-old Dylan Brewer was arrested for leaving tire burnout marks on a similar mural in Delray Beach. 

At the time, the penalty of felony mischief imposed on Brewer was criticized as excessive and “politically motivated.” A GiveSendGo fundraiser was established to raise money for Brewer’s legal defense. As of Tuesday, more than three months after the incident, the fundraiser has brought in more than $34,000. 

“This fund not only supports Brewer’s legal defense but also champions the fundamental American values of freedom of expression and the right to a fair trial. By contributing, you stand for the principles that underpin our democracy, advocating for a balanced and just examination of the case,” the fundraiser states. 

In a 2020 Facebook post published at the time of its completion, the city of St. Petersburg detailed how the LGBT advocacy group “St. Pete Pride launched a fundraiser to install and maintain an inclusive pride mural in Grand Central District, which was the birthplace of #StPetePride.” It identified the effort to place a homage to LGBT ideology in the city as “a community funded project, where the community donated 100% of the funds to cover the installation and its future maintenance.”

Ryan Foley is a reporter for The Christian Post. He can be reached at:

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