Video has emerged of a counter-protester splattering red paint over the Black Lives Matter mural outside Trump Tower in New York City.
Witness Oscar Vela tweeted a clip which shows a man dressed in all black with a baseball cap, sunglasses and a face mask walking up to the mural on Fifth Avenue with a can of paint on Monday afternoon.
The man, who has not been publicly identified, is then seen spilling globs of red paint on the word ‘Lives’ that was later smeared over the rest of the mural by passing cars.
After emptying the can, the vandal picks up his things and begins running away as an onlooker calls out: ‘What’s your name?’ and ‘Run, bastard, run!’
The defacement occurred just days after Mayor Bill de Blasio joined the community effort to paint the mural in large yellow letters last Thursday.
De Blasio hit out at the person responsible on Monday night, tweeting: ‘To whoever vandalized our mural on 5th Avenue: nice try @NYCDOT has already fixed it.’
Video has emerged of a counter-protester splattering red paint over the Black Lives Matter mural outside Trump Tower in New York City on Monday afternoon
Witness Oscar Vela tweeted a clip which shows a man dressed in all black with a baseball cap and face mask walking up to the mural on and spilling globs of red paint on the word ‘Lives’
After running out of paint the man takes off toward East 86th Street as an onlooker cries after him: ‘What’s your name?’ and ‘Run, bastard, run!’
‘The #BlackLivesMatter movement is more than words, and it can’t be undone,’ the mayor added.
Authorities said the man dumped the paint just after noon on Monday and then fled on East 56th Street before officers could catch up with him.
Detectives are now reviewing surveillance footage and asked the public to contact them with any information about the vandal.
Crews began repainting the mural hours later and managed to erase all signs of the red paint.
The red paint was later spread across the mural by passing cars
Police said the vandal managed to run away before officers could track him down
Crews came in to cover the red paint with a fresh coat of bright yellow on Monday afternoon
NYPD officers are seen speaking to witnesses about the vandalism on Monday
Mayor Bill de Blasio, who joined the community effort to paint the mural in large yellow letters last Thursday, hit out at the person responsible for the defacement in a tweet
Trump Tower has been the site of dozens of protests since Donald Trump was elected – including one on Saturday where anti-racism protests clashed with the president’s supporters at the new mural.
One of the witnesses to Monday’s defacement was a man wearing and selling ‘Dump Trump’ gear on the street.
He was pictured standing nearby a man holding up a sign seemingly intended to gaslight people highlighting racial inequalities. It read: ‘The only time black lives matter is when they are shot by a white policeman or an Oreo cookie. Defend all policemen.’
An ‘Oreo’ is a derogatory term used against people of color, comparing them to the cookie which is classically brown on the outside and white on the inside. The slur suggests the person exhibits behavior that the person judging aligns with being characteristically white.
Heavily-armed NYPD officers looked on as workers repainted the mural outside Trump Tower
Trump Tower has been the site of dozens of protests since Donald Trump was elected
Trump supporters clashed with anti-racism protesters outside Trump Tower on Saturday
One of the witnesses to Monday’s defacement was a man wearing and selling ‘Dump Trump’ gear on the street when Trump supporters confronted him
A Trump supporter held up a in reference to protests over racial inequalities on Monday
The Black Lives Matter mural outside Trump Tower was one of five that de Blasio promised to paint across New York City last month as part of an initiative to honor civil rights activists.
‘When we say “Black Lives Matter”, there is no more American statement, there is no more patriotic statement because there is no America without Black America,’ the mayor said at the time.
‘We are acknowledging the truth of ourselves as Americans by saying “Black Lives Matter”. We are righting a wrong.’
Trump expressed his opposition to the mural earlier this month, saying it would denigrate the luxury shopping area. He also said it would ‘further antagonize New York’s finest’.
‘Maybe our GREAT Police, who have been neutralized and scorned by a mayor who hates & disrespects them, won’t let this symbol of hate be affixed to New York’s greatest street,’ Trump tweeted on July 1.
But police appeared to ignore the president’s remarks and were seen protecting the people painting the mural from counter-protesters on Thursday.
Mayor Bill de Blasio is seen helping paint the Black Lives Matter mural last Thursday
De Blasio and his wife Chirlane McCray are seen painting next to The Reverend Al Sharpton
President Donald Trump expressed his opposition to the mural outside his building earlier this month, saying it would ‘further antagonize New York’s finest’
Black Lives Matter murals in other cities have been similarly defaced in recent weeks, including in Chicago, Milwaukee and Washington, DC.
Last week a couple in Martinez, California, were charged with a hate crime after they destroyed a mural there.
‘We must address the root and byproduct of systemic racism in our country. The Black Lives Matter movement is an important civil rights cause that deserves all of our attention,’ Contra Costa District Attorney Diana Becton said in a statement announcing the charges against David Nelson and Nicole Anderson.
‘The mural completed last weekend was a peaceful and powerful way to communicate the importance of Black lives in Contra Costa County and the country. We must continue to elevate discussions and actually listen to one another in an effort to heal our community and country.’
The decision to paint the murals came as Americans across the country expressed their hurt at statues and memorials to Confederate soldiers and slave-owners that have loomed over public places for decades.
Trump recently signed an executive order that would see anyone found to have tampered with a statue or monument face up to 10 years in prison.