Santa Cruz city leaders and law enforcers expressed dismay in a community meeting on Sunday over the Black Lives Matter mural vandalism in the downtown area.
According to police chief Andy Mills, his department is collecting proof that the mural’s vandalism cannot merely be regarded as such, but also a form of hate crime.
20-year-old Brandon Bochat of Santa Cruz and a 19-year-old Hagan Warner of Boulder Creek were tagged as suspects of felony vandalism and were arrested Saturday.
Mills said two more suspects were believed to be engaged but are still on the loose.
He added that he wanted to take action on those who downplay vandalism cases as some game played by kids.
“Shame on you,” the police chief said. “Let me assure you that this is a substantial wound to members of our community.”
The mural, which was funded privately, is located in the 800 block of Center Street. The Santa Cruz City Council gave the go signal for it following the killing of George Floyd by an officer from Minneapolis police force.
According to Mayor Donna Meyers, the meeting on Sunday was done to relay to the community that the investigation on vandalism is underway.
“The targeted vandalism of the Black Lives Matter mural is heartbreaking and violating,” the mayor said, noting that the repair of the mural will be done immediately.
The mural’s paint as well as the pavement underneath were damaged by the skid marks left by the vandalism on Friday.
Video footage of the act was secured by the detectives. Police said that the video revealed a vehicle purposely “burning out” to leave tire tread marks across the mural, NBC Bay Area reported.
The police chief said his department was searching through social media to gather evidence to file more charges, as he answered questions as to why the vandalism has not been counted as a hate crime. He said that it was legally required to prove that the reference of the vandalism was racist and not only exclusive to the Black Lives Matter organization.