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A 19-year-old Trump fanatic faces multiple charges after deliberately defacing a rainbow crosswalk in South Florida.
Alexander Michael Jerich was arrested last month after he was filmed using his truck to leave skid marks on the crosswalk in Delray Beach, FOX affiliate WTVT reports.
The AIDS Healthcare Foundation and Palm Beach County Human Rights Council paid more than $16,000 for the crosswalk, which featured the colors of the Progress Pride flag and was officially unveiled on June 12.
Two days later, Jerich participated in a convoy with other Trump supporters to commemorate the twice-impeached former president’s birthday.
In video of the incident, Jerich stops his white Chevrolet truck on the crosswalk. A flag attached to the truck reads “all aboard the Trump train.”
Jerich then “intentionally accelerated the vehicle” to perform a “burn out,” police documents said. He veered into the opposite lane, into the path of an oncoming car, and almost hit the curb in front of the Hyatt hotel, which police noted has a seating area on the sidewalk corner.
“The video shows that the driver willfully drove the vehicle with disregard for the safety of any other persons or property,” police said.
Police identified the truck’s owner — a relative of Jerich — after a witness provided the video.
Another witness, a gay man who participated in the Trump convoy ahead of Jerich, told police that he heard someone yell, “Adam, tear up that gay intersection.” He later identified Jerich as the driver of the truck.
Despite participating in a parade in support of a president whose administration repeatedly attacked LGBTQ rights, the gay man said that witnessing the crosswalk being vandalized affected him, which is why he came forward.
Jerich was arrested on June 17 and charged with criminal mischief over $1,000, reckless driving, and evidence of prejudice, which carries a felony enhancement.
“Kudos to the Delray Beach Police Department for swiftly identifying and arresting this hateful criminal,” Rand Hoch, president and founder of the Human Rights Council, said in a statement.
Hoch said the Palm Beach County Human Rights Council requested that Jerich’s charges include defacing a memorial — a recently enacted law which would classify Jerich’s act as a third-degree felony.
If Jerich is convicted of defacing a memorial, he would be required to reimburse the City of Delray Beach for the costs of repairing the crosswalk, as attempts to remove the tire marks were unsuccessful.
Julie Seaver, executive director of LGBTQ community center Compass, told the Palm Beach Post that the vandals failed to realize “how powerful and resilient the LGBTQ community is.”
“We have to deal with this type of hate every single day,” Seaver said. “But we do know how to rally and organize, and we know how to stand together side by side, even in the face of hate.”
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