Bias Watch

Car caught on video defacing Pride ground mural

Car doing donuts over St. Petersburg Mural
Car doing donuts over St. Petersburg Mural Photo: Fox 13 Tampa

A rainbow ground mural in St. Petersburg, Florida has been defaced for the second time in just a week. This time, someone was caught spinning donuts over it on security camera footage.

People became aware of the mural being defaced last Friday when they received a call about tire marks covering it. The mural was just repainted earlier this month ahead of Pride Month celebrations.

The mural, located in the Grand Central District on the intersection of Central Avenue and 25th Street, was painted in 2020.

Restoring the mural will cost the city an additional $1,100. It is expected to be restored before Pride.

The incident occurred last Wednesday, May 22, when a car spun donuts over the mural around 3 a.m.

Greg Mikurak, the owner of nearby gay bar Ride’em Cowboy, said the incident was recorded on his security cameras. He said that this vehicle was either a purple or navy blue sports car, something similar to a Nissan GTR.

Ride’em Cowboy is working with the city to organize an event to repaint the mural. It is working to obtain the necessary permits.

“It’s just ignorant people doing dumb things. It will continue to happen; that isn’t something that can be stopped, but we as the community pull together to make it better,” said Mikurak.

The first incident involved a white pickup truck accelerating over the mural to leave tire marks. According to Mikurak, it looked like a Ford F-250 with a smoke stack exhaust and an image of an individual urinating on the back window.

Lee Manuel, owner of the nearby bar Cocktail St. Pete and vice president of Grand Central District, said, “The first instance was really disheartening just knowing it was just recently repainted and the symbol that it is for the community here. Hearing about it happening again… was just unbelievable.”

“This raises awareness overall to everybody in the community that we need to be diligent,” Manuel said. “We need to be focused and paying attention to what’s happening outside and who’s doing that. If you see something that looks wrong, say something. Reach out. Call the police. Let them know. Better to be safe than sorry.”

St. Petersburg Mayor Ken Welch said in a statement, “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 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.”

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