The Santa Cruz police have arrested two young men for doing burnouts on a Black Lives Matter mural painted in the street.
Law enforcement has now arrested 20-year-old Brandon Bochat and 19-year-old Hagan Warner for the tire marks in the street. They are being charged with felony vandalism and conspiracy to commit a felony.
The Santa Cruz Police Department released a statement on Sunday saying that they had received reports that the mural was vandalized with tread marks.
“SCPD Investigators were called in to begin immediate follow-up work to identify the suspect(s). With assistance from the community, Detectives were able to obtain video of the crime, in which a vehicle is seen intentionally ‘burning out’ and applying tire tread marks across the length of the mural. With this video evidence, Investigators have identified a possible vehicle and person(s) of interest,” the statement said.
— Santa Cruz Police (@SantaCruzPolice) July 24, 2021
The police department also included a quote from the NAACP’s local branch president Brenda Griffin.
“This crime saddens me greatly. The NAACP is glad the police have placed a high priority on this investigation. It’s extraordinarily frustrating as some people still don’t get Black Lives Matter too. This mural is a symbol of hope. We want our youth to know we have their backs.”
In a tweet, the department wrote that “there is NO place for racism and acts of hate” in the city. They also promoted a community briefing on the investigation.
SCPD police chief Andy Mills said during a press conference that the tire marks were intentional and that they had chose to do the burnouts on the mural instead of other areas of the city.
“The Black community, the community at large, the people of color in our community felt this was a personal attack,” Mills said. “Let’s face it, of the 5,000-plus street segments in our city, that was the only one? We can see what took place here.”
The young men have been released on bond.
Warner’s grandfather told the Associated Press that he does not believe that it was an act of “hate.”