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Fort Lauderdale's pride flag mural vandalized, police continue search for suspects

pride flag mural.png
Posted at 9:03 AM, Mar 11, 2023
and last updated 2023-03-11 09:04:34-05

Fort Lauderdale’s Mayor is expressing concerns after the recent vandalism of the city’s pride flag street mural. It was unveiled in early February, and days later, it is covered in street marks.  

“It was just a sad moment in our city,” shared Mayor Trantalis.  

Right across the street from the popular A1A, you can see the small side street, Sebastian Street, where this pride flag lies.  

It’s an area of historical significance to the LGBTQ+ community. Fort Lauderdale’s first openly LGBTQ Mayor, Dean Trantalis, said the city painted this progress pride flag to celebrate the location, which is a prominently known LGBTQ-friendly beach.

But now it’s been left in disarray.  

“It wasn’t just a tire running over this area because tires don’t leave marks like that,” explained Mayor Trantalis. “It was definitely a deliberate skid mark trying to deface the flag, and really, it’s just insulting to the community.”  

According to the Fort Lauderdale Police Department, these two large scuff marks were intentional. Officers said security camera footage from a nearby business caught a black Ford truck doing a burnout on top of the mural last week. The passenger had gotten out of the car to videotape the driver and then the pair took off.  

“Honestly, if they were trying to send a message to us, we have a message to send to them. You are not welcome in our city,” said Mayor Trantalis.  

The city said the flag cost about $32,000 to create and will cost another $1,000 to fix. Commissioner John Herbst said he knew this flag would be damaged at some point through normal wear and tear and thinks they need to come up with other solutions.  

“My suggestion is that we put a bronze plaque up there that would have the opportunity to tell a story as to why that location is important,” shared Herbst. “I think it’s important that you provide context. Just having the pride flag doesn’t tell the visitor why that location is important.”  

Currently, the commission has not had discussions on options for security or surveillance to ensure that those with bad intentions don’t do this again.

Commissioner Herbst said the only possible option is more street-level cameras. But he doesn’t think damage to the art will stop, “I don’t think it’s practical or realistic to expect that we are going to be able to prevent that.”  

However, the mayor said this is the first vandalism incident. As of Friday afternoon, officers said no arrests have been made.