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‘Wasting taxpayer dollars’: Right-wingers turn on Florida police for investigating Pride mural vandalism

‘I’ll pay his bail.’


Katherine Huggins


It’s not too often that Florida police draw the ire of conservatives on social media, but an ongoing search for a suspect who defaced an LGBTQ Pride street mural on Wednesday by doing donuts on it in St. Petersburg is prompting just that.

Surveillance video shared by police showed a two-door blue vehicle spinning out in the intersection with the Pride mural, causing damage that St. Petersburg Police Department Public Information Officer Yolanda Fernandez says will cost the city more than $1,000 to repair and repaint.

“So, then, it elevates this criminal mischief from a misdemeanor to a felony,” Fernandez told Tampa Bay’s NBC affiliate WFLA.

St. Petersburg Mayor Ken Welch released a statement on X in the wake of the incident emphasizing “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,” he said, adding that the mural “will be cleaned and refreshed in time for Pride Month.”

Wednesday’s incident was not the first time the mural had been defaced.

It had already been repainted following a truck doing similar donuts on May 17. Authorities do not believe the two incidents are related. Pride Month, however, the annual celebration of the LGBTQ community, kicks off in June.

Efforts to find those responsible for the vandalism are being mocked or dismissed by right-wingers online, many of whom are vocally critical of Pride-related events and activities.

“A manhunt…He should be given a medal!” quipped one person.

“Imagine wasting thousands of tax payer dollars to perform a ‘manhunt’ on a hero,” lambasted someone else.

“Someone should be hunting him down to give him a medal. Not to arrest him,” concluded one right-wing pundit.

“You can legally burn American flags… but they’ll hunt you down if you skid on a rainbow crosswalk,” remarked Tim Young.

And social media users are already rallying in case the culprit is caught, with some preemptively offering to pay for the suspect’s bail and any legal expenses—and calling on Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) to issue a pardon.

“Nice, let us know when find him we can set up a Go Fund Me,” wrote one person.

“He did us all a huge favor,” said someone else. “I’ll pay his bail.”

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