SCPD treating BLM mural damage as intentional vandalism; surveillance footage shows person throwing paint
Surveillance footage from Santa Cruz City Hall shows an individual throwing paint across the downtown Black Lives Matter mural Saturday, prompting police to treat the incident as intentional. Investigators are canvassing nearby businesses to gather more surveillance footage for a better picture of the scene.
The Santa Cruz Police Department is investigating the new damage to the downtown Black Lives Matter mural as an intentional act of vandalism after viewing surveillance footage from Santa Cruz City Hall, Police Chief Bernie Escalante said Monday.
Around 6 p.m. Saturday, the City of Santa Cruz received a report of blue paint splattered across the letters A and C of the mural in front of city hall. Escalante said investigators reviewed camera footage showing an individual throwing paint across the mural, ruling out something like accidental spillage out of a vehicle.
“We are treating this as an intentional act of vandalism,” Escalante said.
There are no leads on the vandal’s identity, but Escalante said investigators are canvassing the area. That entails going through all of the footage from city hall and gathering surveillance footage from nearby businesses and institutions in order to “find angles from all four directions of the street.”
Shandara Gill, co-founder of the SC Equity Collab — the initiative that spearheaded the mural project in the wake of the 2020 murder of George Floyd — said the organization is aware that police are treating the latest damage to the mural as an act of vandalism. She said the Collab will meet privately as a group Monday evening to discuss next steps before commenting on the incident. The group expects to release a statement Tuesday.
Nearly two years after Brandon Bochat and Hagan Warner vandalized the Black Lives Matter mural in front of Santa Cruz...
Saturday’s incident marks the second time the mural has been vandalized, and it comes just over a month after community members gathered to repaint the mural from the first instance.
In 2021, Brandon Bochat and Hagan Warner did burnouts over the mural, leaving dark skid marks across the yellow paint. Both men were convicted of vandalism in November. That damage remained for nearly two years until June, when more than 50 people gathered to help repaint it, including Bochat and Warner, who publicly apologized for their actions as part of a restorative justice process.