A Black Lives Matter mural painted on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan was painted red, according to cellphone video and Mayor Bill de Blasio.
“To whoever vandalized our mural on 5th Avenue: nice try. @NYC_DOT has already fixed it,” the mayor wrote on Twitter.
To whoever vandalized our mural on 5th Avenue: nice try. @NYC_DOT has already fixed it.
The #BlackLivesMatter movement is more than words, and it can’t be undone. pic.twitter.com/nlYTALCWxJ
— Mayor Bill de Blasio (@NYCMayor) July 13, 2020
The footage was captured early Monday, showing a man, who was wearing a mask, dumping a can of red paint over part of the letters. He then set down the can and fled the scene.
New York City police are currently searching for the man, officials told WABC.
“I saw somebody out of the corner of my eye putting down a bag…and I was thinking ‘oh he’s gonna get in my shot,'” said Nikki Ross, who shot the video. “And when I got to about the clock, he took out the paint and splattered it across the mural.”
President Donald Trump wrote on Twitter that de Blasio, a Democrat, and city officials are “denigrating” Fifth Avenue with the project, describing the Black Lives Matter slogan as a “symbol of hate.” He also took aim at City Council members for approving the slashing of $1 billion from the NYPD’s budget in the midst of calls to “defund the police.”
On July 9, de Blasio was joined by wife Chirlane McCray, Reverend Al Sharpton, Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, and Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.) to help paint the mural.
Other details about the incident were not provided by police.
Several murals across the United States have been defaced in recent days.
In a Chicago suburb, one was changed to read, “All Lives Matter” before it was re-painted.
“The mural is considered a testament to community acknowledgment of the Black Lives Matter movement that has focused public attention on the inequities and systemic racism that have such a negative impact on people of color,” Oak Park said in a statement on July 9.
In Martinez, California, two people were arrested earlier this month after splashing black paint on a mural that was recently painted on the street.
Martinez, California, Police Chief Manjit Sappal said in a statement (pdf): “The community spent a considerable amount of time painting this mural only to have the suspects destroy it by dumping and rolling paint over part of the message.”